A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Longlist, National Book Awards 2018 for Young People's Literature

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi book cover
ISBN 9780062866561
HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers
Tahereh Mafi author photo, credit Tana Gandhi
Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Me series, Furthermore, and Whichwood. More about this author >

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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.

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