A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

First of all, I feel the need to admit that I had a really hard time judging this book from a non-biased position, because I, myself, am a hijab (headscarf) wearing Muslim, like our main character in the book. But my religious morals are vastly different from the main character’s and they clashed a lot with hers. So while I’m going to do my best to try to be as neutral and open minded as possible when reviewing this book, please forgive me if I slip up and any part of this comes off as biased or judgemental because that is not my intention.

If I were to take the religious morals out of the equation completely, I can wholeheartedly say that this was a very sweet love story. The main characters had so much chemistry and made such a good couple. It made me swoon and there were probably literal heart eyes happening whenever Ocean said anything at all.

Ocean (the lover boy in our story) was literally the sweetest ever and I adore him and his whole character. Everyone needs an Ocean in their lives. Both literally and figuratively. Though at times, he did come off as a slightly flat character to me. But I suppose that might’ve been because he was more of a secondary character.

The main character, Shirin, kept me engaged in her thoughts throughout the book. She was strong-headed and stood her ground (for the most part) and that made her a really good narrator to keep readers thoroughly invested in her story. The things that happened to her… you felt her pain so clearly through the words. One part in particular really impacted me and left me breathless, because I couldn’t have even imagined how I would’ve reacted in her place. It was heartbreaking and eye-opening. The whole story was.

The only real issue I had with this book was the portrayal of religion. I won’t go into depth about it, because it really is a subject that can be sensitive for people and is also very subjective; people have different morals within their religious beliefs, I’m okay with that. This book just didn’t fit in with mine.

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