A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

TW: Islamophobia, xenophobia

Beginning this book made me uneasy since it spends a lot of time setting up the plot and telling rather than showing. Despite this, Shirin’s experiences and the ensuing wrath were so compelling that I was underlining passages almost every other page. I was captivated to the pages as there were strong moments, hilarious, relatable times, significant moments, and adorable moments.

I was impressed with how the book handled the emotional toil of a relationship where the two parties have completely different backgrounds: one party enjoys the highest level of privilege, and it is the responsibility of the other party to inform them of the struggles they face on a daily basis as a result of certain types of discrimination. Of course, no one has a responsibility to inform someone who is unaware of their own privilege or the unfairness that another person is experiencing. However, communication is essential if you like someone and want to establish a connection with them, whether it be romantic or platonic.

Unquestionably the strongest YA novel I’ve ever read on what it means to be an American Muslim after 9/11. One of the best current books I’ve ever read.

By Teen Reviewer, Maheen