A Very Large Expanse of the Sea Review


Okay, so you all know I love the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, if you didn’t then you know now, this book has nothing to do with the series, but it’s still amazing. This new novel is about a Muslim girl named Shirin, and the struggles she goes through post the events of 9/11. Shirin wears a hijab every day to school and in public, which makes her a target. She has endured so much hate in her life that she has put up giant walls to protect herself and her feelings. Then, she meets Ocean, a boy determined to bring those walls down brick by brick.

I think the whole point of this book cover was to relay the message: “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” which I feel is the main idea in this story. This cover is terrible, and staring at it for too long gives me a headache, but it didn’t stop me from reading the book and I hope it won’t deter you either.

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.”


The characters in this book were so real. Mafi has a way of delving into teenage angst and feelings like no other author I’ve ever read. I also like when those feelings are validated, like in the case of Shirin, and they’re not the product of teenage drama. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Shirin and her tough attitude. I could feel her internal debate and I was undecided along with her. On the one hand she wanted others to accept her for who she is. On the other, she was afraid that getting too close to people would only end up hurting her and hurting them in return.

Ocean was so direct, and he knew exactly what he wanted when it came to Shirin, although not so much when it came to his future career. He was so sweet I couldn’t help but cheer for him the whole time, while also being scared for him and his reputation like Shirin was.

If the decision you made has brought you close to humanity, then you’ve done the right thing.”

Shirin’s dad always had the best advice

I also liked Shirin’s no-nonsense parents, even if I thought they should’ve paid a bit more attention to the struggles their daughter was going through and what moving from school to school all the time could do to her. I could understand their need to move around in order to better themselves and do what they thought was best for their family. Her parents loved tradition, but they didn’t make her wear the hijab, she chose to wear it every day for her own reasons.

We broke apart, fighting to breathe, holding on to each other like were drowning, like we’d been lost, left for dead in a very large expanse of the sea.”


I loved this story, and I hope you will too.

3 thoughts on “A Very Large Expanse of the Sea Review”

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