Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Teen Tuesday and Audio Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahareh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea: a novel by Tahareh Mafi. Unabridged e-audiobook, 6.75 hours. Read by Priya Ayyar. HarperAudio, October, 2018. 9780062888198. (Review from audiobook downloaded from public library.)

Sixteen-year-old Shirin starts yet another new school due to her father's constant search for a higher paying job. It is one year since the 9/11 attacks and the hijab she takes comfort in wearing has made her a target of taunts and threats. Her defense is to appear impenetrable. Aside from her family, she lets no one close. When she's paired with Ocean in biology, she just wants to get the work done, but Ocean appears genuinely interested in her. She's not interested but there is something different about Ocean. 

This is a whip-smart romance with such an incredible voice in Shirin.  She's cynical, snarky and heartbreakingly blunt about the racism she encounters daily. The narration by Priya Ayaar was pitch perfect. She captured Shirin's introspective nature and punctuated it with subtle pauses and shifts in inflection.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea should be on all YA shelves. It's a unique romance, even for readers, like me, who dislike the romance genre.

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