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A Very Large Expanse of Sea

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,466 Ratings  ·  796 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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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.
Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)
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
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
Emma Giordano
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
4.5 Stars! Review to come.
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
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
Feb 26, 2018 marked it as to-read
I'd never name a book "a very large" anything.
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 t
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
Jessi ♡
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I'm not coherent enough to tell y'all how good, funny and important this book is. So i'm gonna wait. But holy shit, this is a book you need to buy.


“I always knew I had to write this book. This is my story, the story I've been writing in my head for years. When I first started pursuing publication, I think I really wanted to establish myself as an author first, an author who could write anything. I didn't want my identity to be tied to my struggle. People of color are more than just our
Feb 22, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: buy-asap
an #ownvoices story about a hijab-wearing Muslim American teen after the events of 9/11?? it also features an interracial relationship and tackles bigotry and Islamophobia?? I'M SO READY FOR THIS.

Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book is incredible.
full review to come.
*ARC review
i wish it was possible to give a book more than five stars, because this book absolutely deserves it. i haven't felt this specific way about a book in a long, long time and my heart is absolutely swelling with affection for these characters and for this story. i also haven't felt this represented on the page in... possibly forever. as a muslim american teenager, i saw where shirin was coming from during many scenes in this story and could see myself in her shoes and it made everything
Laura (bbliophile)
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-releases
Guess who's sobbing over yet another book today? Also, you know a book is good when I both start and finish it on the day of its release
Okay, I just read this note by Mafi and I just really love how she much of her actual life experiences that she incorporated into the book. Ahhh can't wait for this to finally be out (and for me to reread it). ONE WEEEEEK


Feels strange to have read the book first and then seen the cover... I don't even know what I was expecting it to look like but I like that it's white and really, I feel like this totally fits and hides all the heartache quite well


'It never stops hurting. It only
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I fucking love this. So much.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

RTC once i calm down
Rachel Reads Ravenously
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.”

Placed in 2002, Shirin is a 16 year old Muslim girl dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 in America. Always moving around to new places and new schools, she's shocked when she catches the attention of a classmate Ocean James. He's fascinated and wants to get to know Shirin more, but she is not ready to face the bac
ilsa ➹
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Baba,” I said.
“Hmm?” He turned a page.
“How do you know if you’ve done the right thing?”

you better believe that as soon as I opened this package this morning to find this gorgeous ARC, I began reading it and only stopped to live to tweet my reactions and then finished 3 hours later. yes hello, this was absolute awesomeness and I'm still in denial that I have this book in my hands and I read it WOW.

I've never read a book that dealt with Islamaphobia and wearing the hijab so well. Shirin's th
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Spice Up the Shelf: October 2018: Month of Mafi 1 7 Sep 19, 2018 04:48PM  
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.” 11 likes
“I wondered, for the very first time, if maybe I was doing this whole thing wrong. If maybe I'd allowed myself to be blinded by my own anger to the exclusion of all else. If maybe, just maybe, I'd been so determined not to be stereotyped that I'd begun to stereotype everyone around me.” 10 likes
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