ARC review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A very lage expanse of sea review.jpg
Ebook, 320 Pages
YA/ Contemporary
By: Tahereh Mafi

โ€œI was stuck in another small town, trapped in another universe populated by the kind of people whoโ€™d only ever seen faces like mine on their evening news, and I hated it.

๐ŸŒŸ 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.

๐ŸŒŸ I like that Tahereh is trying all different kid of things like MG and contemporary. I was disappointed by Restore me as many of you know but this book was totally different and it restored my faith in Tahereh’s writing.

๐ŸŒŸ Speaking of which, the writing is different from the Shatter me series, while there it was whimsical and poetic, here it was normal with a tone that is fitting for a contemporary. I think this may be a good book for those who did not like the shatter me series and are willing to give Tahereh a second chance.

๐ŸŒŸ Also the story is discussing very important subjects and I think it will be quite popular as THUG did. (But I expect a little bit less popularity). It talks about Islam and xenophobia mainly, which I will get back to later in this review.

๐ŸŒŸ Also, Tahereh made this personal by including break-dancing and sports and high school stuff. Now the reviews have been mostly positive but I need to shed light on some things that bothered me.

๐ŸŒŸ While the book started with the sensitive topics and I thought it was great, it quickly veered toward a romance which in my opinion was not needed. Or at least, should not have been the focus of the story, the romance should have been used to move the plot forward instead of becoming sort of the plot.

๐ŸŒŸ The Break-dancing part: I really love destorying the stereotype about Muslim Girls and that they can’t do (and actually be good) at anything they want to as Music and sports and writing ..etc. Iย  just wish there was more focus on this and more showing instead of telling. We have Shirin who was an amateur at break-dancing and then trained and became good and there was not much showing us that because Shirin was pre-occupied with the love interest as mentioned earlier. I need to mention Navid and the other guys who were so funny and protective of Shirin and made the story better.

๐ŸŒŸ Now to the spicy part that annoyed me a bit and made the final saying in my rating. The Islam part!
When you want to write a book like this then you have to be very objective and to put personal ideals and thoughts apart. There are some things that are open to discussion in Islam and are personal preferences and some things are simply not.
To explain further: no one can discuss if praying in Islam is a must or not because it clearly is. But a man shaking a woman’s hand is debatable, Personally I do shake hands and don’t mind while some other guys prefer not to and to each his own.
Why I am saying this? Because there were some inaccuracies and they may give a false ideas to those who are looking for answers. It does not matter where and when you were born (As some readers may say it is due to Tahereh being raised up in the west) some things are not acceptable and Shirin clearly did them and even defended her choices.

๐ŸŒŸ Summary: This book which is like a semi-Autobiography discussed serious subjects. It had a modern and light voice to it and was easy to read. It could have been better with improved Islam Rep, more break-dancing and less romance. Still a good book that I can recommend to people. I ended up giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Glowing Star on Facebook 2.2.1Glowing Star on Facebook 2.2.1Glowing Star on Facebook 2.2.1half star ast

๐ŸŒŸ Prescription: To those who find the synopsis intriguing but will not take everything in this for granted.




  1. Good to know about the writing style! I personally can not stand the Shatter Me series and was curious to read something different from her to see if it was different

    Liked by 1 person

  2. II haven’t heard of this book but I’m willing to give it a chance since it involved muslim rep! Great review Hamad!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been waiting for you to review this!! Great review. Thanks for pointing those things out! I will keep that in mind when I read it. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

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