A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s a greatly turbulent time politically, but particularly so for somebody like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim young lady who’s tired of being stereotyped. Shirin is never shocked by how unpleasant individuals can be. She’s tired of the discourteous gazes, the debasing comments—even the physical violence—she perseveres as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears each day. So she’s built up defensive dividers and denies to let anybody near sufficient to harm her. Instep, she suffocates her disappointments in music and spends her evenings break-dancing with her brother. But at that point, she meets Sea James. He’s the primary individual until the end of time who seems to need to induce to know Shirin. It panics her—they appear to come from two hostile worlds—and Shirin has had her protect up for so long that she’s not beyond any doubt she’ll ever be able to let it down.