Book review: Very Large Expanse of Sea, A

I just realized it has been a while since I reviewed a romance book and I am here today to rectify that situation. I picked up A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi with a similar motive.

That and the fact that about three billion of fellow book bloggers and bookstagrammers decided to fall in love with this book. So let us see how this works out right?

About the book

Book Name: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Genre: Fiction – Romance, YA

Characters: Shirin, Navid, Ocean James 

Setting: The United States of America

The plot

Set in the year immediately following the 9/11, Shirin is a sixteen year old who got caught among the fear, prejudice and consequent Islamophobia prevalent in the general society in the USA. 

She is used to her father’s frequent job transfers and having to switch schools, meet new people often but she is also used to the cold stares, racists comments and some times even physical violence. She accepts that as a part of her life, a consequence of her religion and her hijab that she choose to wear.  

Shirin didn’t expect anything different at her new school. When her brother Navid decides to start a break dancing troop her life suddenly wasn’t that bad anymore. 

Then she met Ocean James, the school’s golden boy, who wants to befriend her even when she tries to push him away. What was worse is she seems to like him as well. Can these two get a normal high school life when the whole world is spewing hatred at her? Read A Very Large Expanse of Sea to know more. 

My initial thoughts

Once I picked this book, I stayed up to 3 AM to finish it because I didn’t wanna set it down. The cute romance was so adorable that I wanted them to have a positive ending. I hated those who hated them and wanted to harm them. They were so good together, you know? 

I loved Navid, his friends and Shirin’s parents. Seeing an Iranian Muslim family that had to navigate in the post 9/11 USA was heartbreaking and this being an #ownvoice story, made me wonder how many more were still under pressure because of their beliefs and religion. 

But at the end of the day it is a Young Adult romance, diverse representation is only a part of it. So do not pick the book with the hopes of getting more than that. 

Things that worked for me

  • I loved the Romance and the leads were adorable.
  • The representation was on point and the characters were fully developed
  • I heard this is not Tahereh Mafi’s usual style of writing, but I liked it anyway.

Things that didn’t work for me

I loved their parents but they were around for just a few scenes, I wish there were more.


I loved reading A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. I will continue reading Tahereh Mafi’s other series. If you are looking for a Young Adult romance with a Muslim representation then A Very Large Expanse of Sea should be your pick.

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Let us chat

Have you read this popular YA? Do you read hyped books? What other books do you think has a realistic Muslim representation? Let us talk.

19 responses to “Book review: Very Large Expanse of Sea, A”

  1. This sounds amazing! I had no idea what this was about even though I’ve seen it around. It must have been tough loving in US during that time for Shirin’s family. I’m definitely interested in Ocean, Navid and the family! Lovely review!

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