My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I heard Tahereh Mafi talk about her upcoming book ‘A Very Large Expanse of Sea’ at Book Con and I knew that I needed to read it. It is an own voices novel and although it may not be own voices for me it is for my best friend. Despite her popularity and relative happiness in high school, it was definitely incredibly difficult to be an Iranian-American in high school. High school students are idiots and don’t always know what to say, or that there are many things that they should not say. Although this book was set just after the upheaval from 2001, it is still incredibly relevant today as many opinions have not shifted (and become more welcoming) as much as they should have in this time.
This book was fantastic and has a special place in my heart because it reminds me of my best friend and what she has had to go through in her life. Even if the idea of experiencing what Shirin does in a post-9/11 world is not appealing to you, I urge you to read this book. It is incredibly important to be able to put yourself in other’s shoes and perhaps gain some empathy for the plight of others, even if you have not experienced that plight yourself.
It manages to be both an adorable, sometimes fluffy contemporary with a diverse and flawed main character and a book that makes you think. I really enjoyed the balance of the two aspects of the story. It never felt too light-hearted, nor was it too serious. I highly recommend reading this.