Book Review - A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Book Synopsis

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.

This was such a great read! A lot of heavy topics were explored in this book, and it broke my heart at just how extremely mean people could be. The discrimination Shirin experienced because she was a hijab-wearing Muslim from Iran was quite distressing, and I'm painfully aware of the reality of experiences like these especially in the aftermath of 9-11.

I loved that Shirin was a breakdancer! I found that thrilling -- a breakdancing protagonist is such a different concept than any I've ever read in a book like this one!

My takeaways:
👆We all have the same blood running through our veins --Christians, Muslims, Buddhists...all religious entities alike. Every person deserves to be heard, seen, and treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their religious preferences (or lack of) or country of origin.

👆Be kind. Just be kind, darn it.
It may come easy sometimes, but I also know it can be hard at other times especially if we've been scarred in the past. Be kind anyway. The world could do with a little bit more kindness from me and you. And we gain everything (a sense of inner peace, to say the least) when we're kind to people, not just to those we know, but especially to those we don't. Let's do better💖

ᴍʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: 5/5
ɢᴇɴʀᴇ &ᴛʜᴇᴍᴇꜱ: Romance, Literary Fiction, YA, Racism, Religious Discrimination, Politics, Terrorism
ᴍᴀᴛᴜʀɪᴛʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: 13+

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