book review · books

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

“I didn’t believe it was possible to hide a woman’s beauty. I thought women were gorgeous no matter what they wore, and I didn’t think they owed anyone an explanation for their sartorial choices. Different women felt comfortable in different outfits.

-Tahereh Mafi

I made a blog post about how I felt when I had just started this book, so, if you want, you can go check that out over here.





It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


I freaking loved this book. It was all I ever wanted.

Shirin, the protagonist was strong and she went through life head-on. She did not let anyone discourage her or put her down. It’s 2002 and in the aftermath of 9/11 she is discriminated for wearing a hijab but she never lets others dictate what she does. She wears the hijab because she wants to and no matter what others say – she will do it because she wants to.

She’s snarky and sarcastic. She’s rude because that’s just how she goes through life. She’s a survivor and she makes it through it all.

This book is an eye-opener. I’m a brown girl living in India i.e. the majority and no one ever comments on me from my skin colour/religion or anything else. In this book, I see how horrible people can really be and it makes me really sad to see that. I don’t think I could have ever survived that. It makes me really what a privileged life I have led and how lucky I am to not be discriminated against like that. This book throws light on how society reacts to the minority and how shallow minded we all can be.

I also loved the romance in the book. Ocean was such a perfect guy. He gave Shirin attention and accepted her wishes. He tried to reason with her but agreed to let her do what she wants – such as not letting him drive her to school.

He loved her and so he did not let go of her no matter how hard he pushed until she finally accepted him and opened up to him. There were many struggles but he was there for her through it all. He never left – no matter how hard things got and that is what I loved most about him.

I also love how Shirin’s family is portrayed – it throws light on how Muslims really live and what they really are and not just what society portrays them to be.

Overall, this book deals with important issues and pulls it off very well. It is interesting and we learn a lot through it.

“If the decision you’ve made has brought you closer to humanity, then you’ve done the right thing.”

Anyways, what did you all think of my post? Have you all read this book? What did you people think about it? Tell me in the comments below. Will be waiting to hear from you all, it means a lot to me.

Peace out cuties ♥

-Jayati xx



12 thoughts on “A Very Large Expanse of Sea

  1. Oh wow, this sounds like an absolutely incredible and important read! I was a senior in high school when 9/11 happened and it’s been really weird to have my life split into a before and after. So much changed after the attacks, and I like that there is a book that looks at the very real persecution and hate that Muslims experienced (and honestly, Sikhs as well). I am going to have to read this book, thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was born in 2002 so I don’t know the difference between then and now but this book really helped me wake up and understand what some people go through.
      You should read the book! It is really nice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this for Diverse Divers as well!
    I loved your review, Jayati♡
    It makes me sad as well to know how people are treated, and quite frankly, I hate it. It’s a new generation, and has been for a bit now. It’s time to put all the racist crap behind us, right?
    It never should have been here in the first place.
    Sorry to go off on a mini rant, haha.
    It does have an extremely important message and it’s from now on a book I’ll be recommending a bit♡
    Can’t wait to see more content from you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. this book has been on my TBR since before it came out, and I’ve heard only good things about it! so glad to hear that it has good rep and made you think about privilege and biases, that’s always so important.

    and did someone say family dynamics? because I am so here for those 👀

    Liked by 1 person

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