A Novel Idea: AVLEOS

Cover art for “A Very Large Expanse of Sea.” Photo courtesy of Harper Teen.

Cover art for “A Very Large Expanse of Sea.” Photo courtesy of Harper Teen.

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A Novel Idea is Macalester’s new book club, and we would like to share our opinions on the books we read with the rest of campus! Each month we all read our “book of the month” and then discussed it in our meetings. Based on the discussions we have, we want to provide you all with a book review to see if you’d like to check out what we read. Our first book this semester was “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” by Tahereh Mafi. This review is based on the discussion A Novel Idea had in early February.

Tahereh Mafi’s “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” is a compelling, romantic and emotional read. “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” is a young-adult fiction novel based on Mafi’s personal experiences. The story is told from the point of view of Shirin, an Iranian-American teenager who faces a great deal of discrimination at her high school, just a year after 9/11.

Cover art for “A Very Large Expanse of Sea.” Photo courtesy of Harper Teen.

“A Very Large Expanse of Sea” tells not only the story of a Muslim girl in a post-9/11 America facing adversity, but also the story of a teenage girl who falls for the basketball star whose name happens to be Ocean. Shirin is a character that really grows on you; she is as fierce as she is kind, and as bold as she is caring. Throughout the novel, Shirin struggles to open up to the people around her. Having been discriminated against, she learns to see the worst in people – until she meets Ocean.

“A Very Large Expanse of Sea” is definitely an emotional rollercoaster that had us rooting for Ocean and Shirin throughout all of their struggles. Tackling islamophobia and sexism, “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” strikes a delicate balance between depictions of discrimination and a love story that will break your heart. With a lot of challenging moments, “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” brings you back up again every time Shirin breaks out her awesome breakdancing moves – in fact, our main complaint about this book is that there is not enough breakdancing. A heart-wrenching yet uplifting book, “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” is definitely worth reading!