Book Review

Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ .5
Audience: YA contemporary
Length: 320 pages
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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 is a book that is hard to put down. I finished it within hours and was utterly involved in every aspect of this book. I love Mafi’s work and this was fantastic.

I will never understand or be able to comprehend the things Shirin goes through. I could truly feel her anger coming off the page within the first few chapters. This was only the beginning of how well placed the emotions were throughout this book. It’s been awhile since I have felt everything an author was trying to convey through her characters.

Ocean was this precious, sweet soul who I seriously had flutters reading about. All of his interactions with Shirin were immensely heartfelt and was a strong reminder that, yes they’re bad people, but there are a lot more good people in the world. It’s something I personally strive to remember and connected on a deeper level with. I didn’t always love how he was treated by Shirin, but I sought to understand the base reasoning that drove her decisions.

Her big brother, Navid, was the best protector. I loved seeing him throughout the book constantly ensuring that Shirin knew someone had her back (along with his group of break dancing friends). The break dancing did take a back-seat to the overall love story. I personally didn’t mind because Ocean brought out a lot of self-realization for Shirin.

I appreciated that Shirin acknowledged her right to feel angry, but also her right to let it go [within reason]. Her ability to work on giving the world a chance made me love her character even more.

The writing may seem juvenile at times, but upon further thinking it over, it’s highly accurate. There’s a lot of uses of: wow, like, and just and I kept thinking, oh my goodness this is driving me insane — then, wait, I know I used to talk that way as a teenager myself.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • A lot of language
  • Romance: some intense kisses
  • Violence: physical, verbal
  • Trigger warnings: islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, mentions of past assault
Book Review

Review: The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses #1) by Amy Harmon

Law of Moses


Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult, paranormal contemporary, language, violence, some love scenes, kissing, etc.
Length: 359 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: November 27th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —


If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

WHO DOES THAT? Who tells you the horror that you’re about to read? Amy Harmon does, that’s for sure.

After preparing myself for the worst, I then went on a ride where once again I was loving everything Harmon did. I will not that this is more paranormal as Moses can see dead people (not a spoiler, you know this pretty quickly). Knowing this beforehand would have helped me understand and connect with the story more.

Her stories carry such depth. The characters truly suffer and you feel it all. I don’t have a lot to say for this review, because I simply enjoyed what I read. I was wanting to read a love story and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Some portions are a little bit of a drag, and the inclusion of the side story didn’t seem necessary, but did add some action and intrigue that literally had me shouting “I KNEW IT!” when I got to the piece of the plot where the puzzle was complete.

Tag is also a great sidekick and he’s the center of the next book WHICH MAKES ME SO HAPPY. I think side characters can make or break a book.

There is language, but wasn’t enough where I started to feel that it needed to back off a bit. The love scenes are tasteful and a little descriptive. Some kissing and make-out scenes. Minor violence, including guns.