C.G. Drews's Reviews > A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2018, young-adult

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 hurt...it's an important story.

And I am just a smeeeeear of feels upon the floor thanks.

Smallest thing I was sad about: I missed Mafi's whimsical, flowery writing! This was a straight-forward tone, with Shirin being very no-nonsense. But it's also awesome to see authors conquer a wide variety of styles so !! (And I did feel the last 20% fell into telling instead of...well showing . I prefer to be IN the event, not recaped?)

BUT WOW CAN WE TALK ABOUT SHIRIN. I freaking loved her. She is like a snarky thorn bush and I just wish to leave her and Ronan (from The Raven Cycle) in a room together so they could both say, "I am being perfectly fucking civil" together. Because this is entire Shirin Mood. She is a burnt marshmallow and I JUST LOVED HER. And just seeing what her life was like was so sobering. She's abused for wearing hijab (it's set in 2002) and treated like trash, she's been attacked on the street, kids are awful to her in school, plus she moves a lot. She definitely showed signs of a lot of depression. She is just surviving. That's it.

...and then she discovers both:
➸ breakdancing! she and her (epic) brother Navid start a club with 3 of his friends and this is wholesome badass dancing goodness
➸ Ocean! an actual boy, not the sea! who is quiet and soft and awkward and has a desperate crush on her and makes mistakes but wants to learn to do better and has really pretty eyessssss

And just seeing Shirin having to work through her terror of being hurt (and eventually she worries about Ocean getting hurt) and then the unraveling chain of horrible events just because thESE TWO KIDS WANT TO BE HAPPY TOGETHER ahhhhhhh

[extended sob]

It's so well written. It's powerful and heartwrenching and there are many many fun and uplifting moments to balance ones where you're livid with rage that anyone would dare hurt Shirin. And I also just freaking LOVED reading about breakdancing. (I know nothing lmao. But there is a move called the Cricket and I know that now.) And Navid was a Good Brother and I appreciate his existence immensely.

Anyway: READ THIS. I've officially read 6 Mafi books this year (some rereads) and my heart is very full.
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Reading Progress

February 22, 2018 – Shelved
February 22, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
December 29, 2018 – Started Reading
December 29, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
December 29, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
December 29, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
December 29, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by iz (new) - rated it 5 stars

iz oof okay I definitely need to read this. I've been in kind of a slump lately so maybe this can pull me out of it? hopefully!

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Ah Yay! I'm so glad you liked this, I gave it four stars too and found it really beautiful?! DGHSGf

C.G. Drews @Belle Jane: ooh I hope so! Slumps utterly suck gah, I totally realte

@ilsa: i'm so so glad you liked it too!! 😭💛

Ceridwenn Loved your review!! Have you read the extra chapters from Ocean’s pov (only in the Target edition 😭) I’ve been dying too !
Also 6 books by Tahereh Mafi is a good number ! Lol can’t wait for 2019 to read more 😄

C.G. Drews omg extra chapters!??! noooo I haven't read them! I just got a paperback online (I'm Australian)

message 6: by evi (new) - added it

evi @Ceridwenn thank you for mentioning that the target edition has bonus content, i was planning on stopping by there tomorrow anyways and now i must get this book!!!

Cas ❦ I literally just spent most of today reading this and it’s so beautiful but also wow I didn’t even think about Shirin and Ronan in the same room that would be incredible to see!!

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