Hamad's Reviews > A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
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bookshelves: 2018-reads, arcs, e-books, buddy-reads

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 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.

🌟 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.

🌟 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.

🌟 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.

🌟 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.

🌟 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. I 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.

🌟 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.

🌟 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.

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

BR this with Noura of ARCs
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Comments Showing 1-44 of 44 (44 new)

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message 1: by Helena (new)

Helena of Sparta ✰ That sounds like a rollercoaster... :O


message 2: by Camile (last edited Sep 05, 2018 12:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Camile Souza (This Chamber of Books) haha kind of same. I was rejected at first, but now Harper decided to approve me for all of their arcs lol


message 3: by Rob (new)

Rob awesome review


Hamad Helena wrote: "That sounds like a rollercoaster... :O"

It is, but I am glad it had a happy ending!


Hamad Camile wrote: "haha kind of same. I was rejected at first, but now Harper decided to approve me for all of their arcs lol"

I usually get approved for all Harper Collins books (They are the best) but this book ARCs were delayed for some reason


Hamad Rob wrote: "awesome review"

Thanks?!


Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura) Yayyyy! Mine was approved yesterday!


Hamad Same Noura, it looks like approvals were given yesterday!
Want to do a BR for this book?


Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura) Hamad wrote: "Same Noura, it looks like approvals were given yesterday!
Want to do a BR for this book?"


Why didn't goodreads notify me about this! Ugh I saw this now 🤦🏽‍♀️


Hamad Noura wrote: "Hamad wrote: "Same Noura, it looks like approvals were given yesterday!
Want to do a BR for this book?"

Why didn't goodreads notify me about this! Ugh I saw this now 🤦🏽‍♀️"


You know the notification system, lol!
Anyway, no worries.


♠️ Tabi ♠️ "more break-dancing and less romance"

this sounds like a t-shirt slogan for break-dancers ahahaha!! Great review! xD


Hamad ♠️ Tabi = 타비 ♠️ wrote: ""more break-dancing and less romance"

this sounds like a t-shirt slogan for break-dancers ahahaha!! Great review! xD"


hahahah Tabi
I would like to see that come true xD
Thanks


Frank Nice review, I've been hoping to hear some own-voices input on this


Hamad Frank wrote: "Nice review, I've been hoping to hear some own-voices input on this"

Thanks Frank :D


message 15: by Rusty (new) - added it

Rusty Grey Great review dude!! I'm highly anticipating this one . 😀


message 16: by Shaimaa (new)

Shaimaa Great review! I have not read any of Tahereh's books yet.


Hamad Rusty wrote: "Great review dude!! I'm highly anticipating this one . 😀"

Thanks Dude, Hope you like it :D


message 18: by Janett (new) - added it

Janett Highly anticipating reading this book because Tahereh is my Queen! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Hamad Janett wrote: "Highly anticipating reading this book because Tahereh is my Queen! Thanks for sharing your thoughts."

You're welcome and hope you enjoy this one :D


message 20: by ℨαrα (new) - added it

ℨαrα Oh no, so the world is still desperately in need of a book with great Islam rep?? Great review!


Hamad ꧁ ℨαrα ꧂ wrote: "Oh no, so the world is still desperately in need of a book with great Islam rep?? Great review!"

Thanks Zara and yes, it could have been better!


Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura) great review!


Hamad Shaimaa wrote: "Great review! I have not read any of Tahereh's books yet."

Thanks Shaimaa, I think this one is good for a start.


Hamad Noura wrote: "great review!"

Thanks Noura


Shehzeen Muzaffar Amazing review. I am dying to read this book!


Hamad Shehzeen wrote: "Amazing review. I am dying to read this book!"

Thanks Shehzeen, the wait is almost over and then you can get it!


Vicky Who Reads When you talk about Islam, are you referencing (view spoiler)?


Hamad Vicky Who Reads wrote: "When you talk about Islam, are you referencing [spoilers removed]?"

Actually not because that was realistic and many kids do it.
(view spoiler)


Vicky Who Reads Hamad wrote: "Vicky Who Reads wrote: "When you talk about Islam, are you referencing [spoilers removed]?"

Actually not because that was realistic and many kids do it.
[spoilers removed]"


Ahh, got it! Thank you for clarifying.


Hamad Vicky Who Reads wrote: "Hamad wrote: "Vicky Who Reads wrote: "When you talk about Islam, are you referencing [spoilers removed]?"

Actually not because that was realistic and many kids do it.
[spoilers removed]"

Ahh, got..."


you're welcome :D


Zaina Munther i personally agree with all the points you mentioned
i think she was trying so hard to seem as american as possible so it messed with the islamic part alot


Zaina Munther but i really like the idea of a hijabi girl that stands up for herself and does what she likes and is good at it


Zaina Munther if there was a little less romance i wouldve liked it more


Hamad Zaina wrote: "if there was a little less romance i wouldve liked it more"

I agree, it deviates from the whole intended point of the book!


message 35: by Vee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vee Completely agree


Hamad Vee wrote: "Completely agree"

Thank u :D


message 37: by Ayah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ayah Hazem Jaber Great review of this book! Personally, i agreed with you at the point when you said that there were some moments in this book where Shirin did some stuff that are originally not allowed or accepted in Islam, and as a Hijabi myself, i found that as a disgrace to the hijab and Islam, and while I really liked Shirin and connected to her, I was quite upset from how she was doing stuff that, I repeat, are not acceptable.


Hamad Ayah wrote: "Great review of this book! Personally, i agreed with you at the point when you said that there were some moments in this book where Shirin did some stuff that are originally not allowed or accepted..."

Thanks for understanding! I had a long discussion with a friend about this and she thought that there are girls like Shirin out there which makes her real. While I don't deny that, I think a book this big will be conveying ideas about Islam to non-Muslims and she said that we shouldn't care what will people think. I disagree and think it is a sensitive topic that should be approached as such!


message 39: by Uzma (new)

Uzma Your review of this has intrigued me! I have yet to read any of Tahereh’s works but the plot seems interesting. And I agree about the Islam rep bit, especially considering that there’s a lot of mistruths out there. Nice review :)


Hamad Uzma wrote: "Your review of this has intrigued me! I have yet to read any of Tahereh’s works but the plot seems interesting. And I agree about the Islam rep bit, especially considering that there’s a lot of mis..."

Thanks Uzma :D
This is different from her other works but it was a little bit typical and she didn't come up with something new, except that the MC was a Muslim who didn't act as one!


message 41: by Uzma (new)

Uzma Hamad wrote: "Uzma wrote: "Your review of this has intrigued me! I have yet to read any of Tahereh’s works but the plot seems interesting. And I agree about the Islam rep bit, especially considering that there’s..."

You’re welcome :)
Eurgh, that’s one thing that irks me. Obviously you don’t want to play into stereotypes but at the same time you should acknowledge the cultural/religious differences that are there.


Hamad Uzma wrote: "Hamad wrote: "Uzma wrote: "Your review of this has intrigued me! I have yet to read any of Tahereh’s works but the plot seems interesting. And I agree about the Islam rep bit, especially considerin..."

Yes, yes exactly 100%

description


message 43: by Rima (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rima Utami Totally agree with this review esp the Islam part. Shirin's act with Ocean irked me a lot that it made me cringed and baffled, immensely. It went toooooo far (although honestly they were kind of cute) Yet, here, me questioning a lot of her reason to wear hijab at all. I'm trying not to be judgmental or what (since I'm not that dutiful with my prayers) but still I think there should be the right interpretation of Islam values in this book.


Hamad Rima wrote: "Totally agree with this review esp the Islam part. Shirin's act with Ocean irked me a lot that it made me cringed and baffled, immensely. It went toooooo far (although honestly they were kind of cu..."

Thanks! They are cute (But that's not the point, right?)
You see, she mentioned that Shirin and her brothers skipped prayers and that didn't irk me because it was kind of explained and realistic. But the other things were too extreme!
I read Shadow me recently and it kind of have the same problem. I am not here to attack the author so I will keep some of the thoughts to myself!


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