The County Chronicle

The online newspaper for Loudoun County High School

The County Chronicle

The County Chronicle

Book review: “A very large expanse of sea” helps to expand the mind

“A Very Large Expanse Of Sea” by Tahereh Mafi is a lyrically written romance novel depicting the rage, hate, and stereotypes that stem from the ignorance of uneducated peoples.

It centers around Shirin, a sophomore in high school who’s intelligent, independent, and shows strength through breakdancing.

Due to her Muslim faith and wearing a hijab, she faces discrimination and xenophobia. This discrimination is intensified because it’s 2002, only a year after the September 11, 2001 attack. Her family is constantly moving around because of this, and the book begins with her making her way through the first day at a new school.

When she meets a junior named Ocean James who becomes her lab partner, they begin to fall in love. After they start dating, Shirin forces Ocean to keep their relationship low-key, but he doesn’t want to appear as if he’s ashamed of dating her, and manages to convince her to let him drive her to school.

Story continues below advertisement

And then everything comes cascading down.

The book is written to convey the profound emotions of Shirin, and eloquently tells her story through the lens of her emotions. When I was reading the book, I felt just as confused and enraged as she did because the author completely immerses you into her world.

Ocean is oblivious to the amount of discrimination that still exists, and meeting Shirin opens his eyes. Both Ocean and Shirin had well developed character arcs, and I really enjoyed how they had to learn about each other’s cultural issues to solve their own problems.

It is a love story stripped down to its purest form, and the ending will leave you the most bittersweet form of hope.

Even if you’re not a fan of romance novels, you will still gain perspective as the author goes out of her way to teach you about culture and cultural experiences.



Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Scarlett Ashford, staff writer
Scarlett Ashford is a freshman at Loudoun County High School, and this is her first year as a staff writer for The County Chronicle. She enjoys playing softball, has been playing piano for the past 7 years, and is 4th chair French horn for the Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra. She spends her free time writing, reading, listening to rock music, and watching horror movies.

Comments (0)

All The County Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *