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A Very Large Expanse of Sea

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  7,071 ratings  ·  1,932 reviews
It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, an
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by HarperTeen
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“I'm going to get asked this question so much because she falls in love with this white boy, Ocean, and I'm…more

“I'm going to get asked this question so much because she falls in love with this white boy, Ocean, and I'm married to a white man. The obvious answer is no: I met my husband [the writer Ransom Riggs] as an adult, and we were very different people than this character and her love interest. But Ocean's personality is inspired quite a bit by my husband's personality. And there are certain conversations that they have that I've absolutely had with my husband, things that they have to face together, like the complications of being in an interracial relationship.”(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Fred I don’t want to spoiler anything for you, so I’m just gonna say that it does not follow that pattern.
Believe me, this book, it’s worth reading!

Community Reviews

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شيماء ✨
Y’all mind if I cry because if you’d told 16 year-old me that one day I’ll read a NYT best-selling book where a Muslim Hijabi teen gets her own coming of age story and her own big romance instead of being the token (stereotyped) minority character or some cultural prop used only to further the writer’s favorite white girl…it would have made a world of difference.

So, what’s this book about?

Shirin could scarcely remember what her life had been like, back before the events of 9/11 had made of it
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
I got my hands of an ARC of this back at BEA and I regret not reading it till now. This book was INCREDIBLE. It's definitely one of my favorite books to come out this year. It was eye opening and heart breaking and beautiful.
Christine Riccio
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was fantastic.
Sabaa Tahir
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best contemporary books I've ever read, and hands-down the best YA on what it means to be a Muslim American post 9/11. Tahereh Mafi pulls no punches, spares no feelings and tells the absolute truth and it is beautiful, rare and heartbreaking. If there's one book you read this year, make it this one.
Emma Giordano
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
4.5 Stars! Review to come.

CW: islamophobia & xenophobia
Whitney Atkinson
October 2018
Updating with my full thoughts now that the book is out! I wrote all of this down when I first read it in May.

I was nervous starting this book because the first 25% of this lays a lot of groundwork and there’s a lot of telling instead of showing. Despite this, I was highlighting paragraphs basically every other page because Shirin’s experiences and anger born from them was so powerful. This book cuts the crap from Shatter Me & Furthermore’s writing style and says it how it is. G
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

“I was stuck in another small town, trapped in another universe populated by the kind of people who’d only ever seen faces like mine on their evening news, and I hated it.

🌟 I should start this review by making one point very clear: I am an Arab Muslim Palestinian guy, so I do understand this book more than most readers will.

🌟 I like that Tahereh is trying all different kid of things like MG and
(Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi broke me while simultaneously filling my mind, soul and heart with vast emotions all at the same time.

This book deserves all the stars for the raw emotion it made me feel. Tahereh Mafi's voice was so honest - Shirin was funny, intelligent, clever and so angry. She was the perfect narrator. My heart bled for her. Shirin's pain was so real - I wanted to hug her fiercely. The story follows Shirin as her family moves to yet another new city. She deals
Tahereh Mafi better write more YA contemporary romance novels in the future because this one was absolutely moving and memorable. It’s been a long time since I fell so hard for a YA love interest but Ocean was just EVERYTHING. Oh my goodness. It’s both an uplifting and saddening story at times. It’s beautiful and makes you believe in true love, but the heroine experiences racism throughout the story and the constant need to educate people weighs on her. There’s a bit too much angst for me to giv ...more
Larry H
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read for a number of different reasons. I read for relaxation, for entertainment, for escape. I read to be provoked into thought or action, I read to feel, and sometimes my funny bone or my tear ducts need a good workout. And sometimes, I read to learn.

The ideal book is a combination of at least a few of these, which was one of the reasons I enjoyed Tahereh Mafi's newest novel, A Very Large Expanse of Sea . I empathized with the characters and found the story emotional and appealing, but I al
destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
If you know my reading tastes much, you’ll already know that I almost never pick up a contemporary novel unless it involves one of three things: diverse rep, a heartbreaking learning experience (for the reader or the characters), or a romance so sweet and lovable that I can’t help but get sucked in. It’s really rare that I find a book that has all three of those traits, yet here we are.

I didn’t understand how anyone could be so violently angry with me for something I hadn’t done, so much so th
Feb 26, 2018 marked it as to-read
I'd never name a book "a very large" anything.
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This was PHENOMENAL. I've always really enjoyed Tahereh's books but this being a contemporary really just stepped everything up for me. Fuck, I loved this SO MUCH. dsafsahdfkjsahfd

Please join us tomorrow (12/14) on Kassie's channel at 8pm PST as we discuss this amazing read. I hope to see you there!
C.G. Drews
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well this is just a brilliant story that gave me far too many emotions. Honestly I'm just feeling all the things and I didn't expect less from the queen Tahereh Mafi!! ajfsdklad I know this book is hugely drawn on from personal experience and just walking in Shirin's shoes, with the micro-aggressions (and the outright huge racist and xenophobic actions from people around her) and her hate of school and aching fear of wanting to love but not wanting to be's an important story.

And I am j
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounding up to 5. This book was really intense, raw and honest. I really felt how personal of a story this was for the author to write, and am grateful that she is putting this book out into the world.
Hannah Greendale
Aside from a few short bursts of insight on a Muslim girl suffering racists microaggressions a year after 9/11, A Very Large Expanse of Sea is your average, run-of-the-mill coming-of-age YA romance featuring a teenager who hates school, laments life, is awkward around boys, doesn't understand her feelings for the first guy who's kind to her, etc., etc., etc.

Lots of telling; crucial moments that hold vast potential for tension and emotional depth are glossed over in brief recap. One male charact
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favorite read of the year so far. so raw, emotional, and hopeful
Alana • thebookishchick
This book was EVERYTHING.

I posted a mini review on my blog, you can check it out HERE!

I thought I understood white privilege but this book.. THIS BOOK checked my ass real quick.

I don’t even have words. Please just do yourself a favor and add it to your TBR immediately.

Full review to come closer to release date!




Tahereh, darling, you are SLAYING 2018.
What did we do to deserve you?
Elyse Walters
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Could NOT pull away!!!!
Alright...I know I’m behind on a couple of reviews... ( no rules here right?/!)... lol
Busy with a remodeling project ...’
And a girl needs sleep...

I enjoyed both the Audiobook & ebook... sync combination!
LOVE the storytelling... melted over the characters ....

A part I laughed: ( yet - this still tells nothing about the entire story)....
This snobby girl - a bitch in other words - had th
Kayla Dawn
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Definitely not a bad book, just not my cup of tea.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m a white girl. I know the privilege the color of my skin gives me.
Sometimes people stare at me, I can feel their eyes on me while crossing the street. It happens once in a lifetime and it gives me shivers. I don’t know why they do it, but I know they aren’t commenting the color of my skin, they are not assuming my culture or my religion. I don’t get racist comments, never had, never will.

This book was a punch in the stomach.
And if it was a punch in the stomach for me, a girl who never has
may ❀
i'm conflicted, im conflicted, im conflicted, im conflicted, im conflicted, im conflicted, im conflicted, im conflicted, im conflicted

i got a lot to ??unpack?? but i dont know if i'm going to unpack it, so stay tuned, i guess



i'm sitting here reading this book and lowkey getting emotional bc there are comments and phrases that are just so natural to the main characters and I DIDNT THINK I WOULD EVER SEE THE DAY WHEN THIS WAS NORMAL IN A YA BOOK 😭😭😭😭😭
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, favourites
Buddy read with my dear friend, Saajid (

This was incredible. Just when I think Tahereh's writing can't get any better, she comes out with THIS MASTERPIECE!
alexandra ling
Oct 17, 2018 marked it as to-read
Sounds good but it's Tahereh Mafi so it is going to be fragile and melancholic for sure.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a critical story that I hope not only makes an impact on YA literature, but also on society in general. It's the type of book that I would recommend a thousand times over. It’s one that I desperately want everyone to read, to learn from, and I’m so thankful Tahereh Mafi shared it with us.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea has all the aspects of your average YA contemporary, but what makes it so unique, and important, is this: the insight on what is means to be a Muslim American living in a post
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing

did i expect my first read of the year to become a favourite?? no. did i know that tahereh mafi had the power to write another book that would make me laugh out loud, absolutely sob and break down, shatter my heart, scream in anger and just make me feel all the feels? HELL YES.

i honestly don't know how tahereh does it so effortlessly but this book was so incredibly good and i would DIE for ocean james, #1 soft boy and most supportive boyfriend ever. please
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Yeeeesh, or as this book would say . . .


You know what makes me want to punch someone in the throat more than anything in the universe? When the only words they can come up with during an argument are “wow” or “whatever.” The fact that this is pretty much the only response either of the two main characters in this book have to anything that offends them did not bode well for my enjoyment. Not to mention the laundry list of other
Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

Actual Rating: 3.5

Buddy Read with Hamad

Thank you Harper Collins for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

“It gives the bullies all the power. It would mean they’d succeeded at making me feel like who I was and what I believed in was something to be ashamed of.”

Tahereh Mafi has had a special place in my heart ever since the Shatter Me series. When I heard about this book coming out I was so over the moon. A story about the life of a Muslim girl a year after 9/11. I’m
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Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Me series. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California with her husband, fellow author Ransom Riggs. She can usually be found over-caffeinated and stuck in a book. Shatter Me is her first series, with television rights optioned by ABC Signature Studios; Fur ...more
“If the decision you’ve made has brought you closer to humanity, then you’ve done the right thing.” 42 likes
“I didn't believe it was possible to hide a woman's beauty. I thought women were gorgeous no matter what they wore, and I didn't think they owed anyone an explanation for their sartorial choices. Different women felt comfortable in different outfits.
They were all beautiful.”
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