A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
I did not know what to expect with Tahareh’s first foray into contemporary novels. I’ve read (and enjoyed) the first three books of the Shatter Me series. All I really knew going into AVELOS was; that it was about a Muslim girl experiencing life in a post 9/11 world, that there was going to be breakdancing, and that it is loosely based on Mafi’s own experiences.
And WOW. This did not disappoint. I loved this so much that I read half of it on my flight to New York and the other half the next day at my hotel. I even ended up buying a copy, while in the city, at Books of Wonder. I could not resist the signed first edition and supporting an independent bookstore.
WHAT I LOVED:
- The whole premies of this book and the fact that it is Own Voices
- I liked how this took place a year after 9/11. So many books include 9/11 to make their book more ~dramatic~ and Mafi doesn’t. We are examining the aftermath of a horrific event, not the event itself.
- Shirin is angry all the time, but I totally got where she was coming from and could relate to a lot of her emotions. She is a great protagonist.
- Like this entire review could be about how soft and sweet he is and how much I loved him
- He is so vulnerable and open; which is nice to see
- His phone calls with Shirin at night are the perfect mix of cute and awkward
- I fell into this story, it can be hard to get into books on planes, but that was not the case for me at all
- I also was highlighting, like, half the book (thank you kindle)
- I was smiling at my screen for most of the book
- I loved how Shirin has a lot of interests. Many times in YA characters only like ONE thing, but she has a lot of hobbies/interests
- You can feel the early 2000’s vibes in this book (Shirin doesn’t want to text too much because it’s expensive)
- How she listens to music in class
- The side characters were great and added to the overall story
WHAT I DID NOT LOVE:
- Going into this I thought breakdancing would be way more of a thing in this. It is an interest of hers and their are some pivotal scenes, but I thought it was going to be the main plot
- The formatting of the text messages was a little weird
But, that is it! I loved this book. The plot is very romance-centric, so keep that in mind if that is something you don’t like.
So you can get the vibe of what was going through my head while I was reading the book here is an excerpt from my notes. *minor spoilers*
- WOW SO CUTE OCEAN
- Shirin is great and also #same to 90% of her actions
- “I just need to know are you feeling this too?”
- ARE YOU TRYING TO MURDER ME OCEAN??
- WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THIS WAS A LOVE STORY
- I can’t handle them
- OCean PLAYS BASKETBALL IS TAHERAH TRYING TO KILL ME (typo kept in on purpose)
- Reason for passing out: OCEAN IN A BASKETBALL UNIFORM
This was such an entertaining and cute read with all the feels, that still deals with some serious topics in an authentic way. I can’t wait to reread this and write out all of my favorite quotes. I also hope Mafi writes more contemporary novels because her writing style fits beautifully with the genre.
“I like the cover” -Tree’s dad (December 1, 2018)
Goodreads Link: A Very Large Expanse of Sea