From bestselling and National Book Award–nominated author Tahereh Mafi comes a stunning novel about love and loneliness, navigating the hyphen of dual identity, and reclaiming your right to joy—even when you’re trapped in the amber of sorrow.
It’s 2003, several months since the US officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down.
She's too busy drowning in her own troubles to find the time to deal with bigots.
Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her heart—
Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes.
An Emotion of Great Delight is a searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11. It’s about a child of immigrants forging a blurry identity, falling in love, and finding hope—in the midst of a modern war.
About the Author
Tahereh Mafi is the National Book Award nominated and New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of An Emotion of Great Delight, the This Woven Kingdom series, the Shatter Me series, A Very Large Expanse of Sea, Whichwood, and Furthermore. You can find her on Instagram at @tahereh or on her website, www.taherehmafi.com.
"Gorgeous and poetic, Mafi is unflinching in her rendering of pain and brutal truths, but also succeeds in weaving a tale that is brimming with heart and honest hope. This is a book I wish I'd had when I was fourteen. I'm so glad young readers will have it now. A truly special story." — Jasmine Warga, New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor-winning author of Other Words for Home
"Tahereh Mafi has written a timely, compelling novel about love and family and the remarkably complex nature of religion and faith. An Emotion of Great Delight is as profound as it is beautiful." — Matt de la Peña, New York Times and Newbery Medal winning author of The Last Stop on Market Street
"To raise empowered and empathetic children, it's crucial we allow them to experience all emotions. That is the case with An Emotion of Great Delight, which centers on Shadi, a Muslim girl coming of age in the aftermath of 9/11, who grapples with grief, loss, and a broken heart. Shadi goes from bottling up all her emotions, to letting herself free by expressing herself. What a model Tahereh Mafi creates for all our young people."
— Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestselling author of books including How to Be Antiracist, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, and Antiracist Baby
"Mafi follows her National Book Award–longlisted A Very Large Expanse of Sea (2018) with another contemporary young adult novel of striking emotional intensity. Complex and introspective Shadi details her experiences with the specific challenges of Islamaphobia and with more general issues. With masterfully compelling prose, this surprises and ensnares, leading readers to an inevitable but gripping climax. Though there's a feverous feeling throughout the book, there's also formidable nuance in Shadi’s paradoxical and contradictory thought patterns. Emotional implications of great magnitude and stakes that could not feel higher. A bluntly powerful read that shouldn't be missed." — Booklist (starred review)
"Mafi confronts issues of mental health, suicidality, racism, and self-love in ways that will leave readers reacting viscerally and powerfully. Reading this novel is like being dropped straight into the everyday lives of a Muslim family in post–9/11 America. A simply real story, devoid of clichés, that will leave an indelible mark." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Mafi’s prose is compelling and unsentimental, giving voice to the universal angst common among teenagers. She handles the timely issues of race and discrimination with skill, highlighting the inaccuracies so often ascribed to individuals of the Muslim faith. Her well-developed characters jump off the page, especially during romantic moments. An emotional, important look at an American Muslim teen’s experience."
— School Library Journal (starred review)
"Mafi clearly and movingly illustrates how grief can escalate uncontrollably and seep into every facet of life." — Publishers Weekly
"Mafi introduces some potent issues around whether passive resistance or confrontation is the better community strategy, and scenes of anti-Muslim aggression are brief but impactful."
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Listeners beware: Joffrey’s emotional performance might just break your heart… Joffrey’s emotional connection with each character adds layers of authenticity that will resonate with listeners. This audiobook is sure to leave a lasting and memorable impact.”
— Booklist (starred review of audio edition)
"Mafi returns with another lyrical contemporary novel. An aching, emotional story that touches on various internal struggles of being a child of immigrants." — Buzzfeed
"Mafi takes you places you never anticipate as she demonstrates the many forms of heartbreak and whether they can be healed." — Forbes
PRAISE FOR A Very Large Expanse of Sea: “A raw yet astoundingly elegant examination of identity, loneliness and family that is unflinching in its honesty and power. Tahereh Mafi holds nothing back—and the reader is better for it.” — Sabaa Tahir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ember in the Ashes series
“A Very Large Expanse of Sea reads like a beautiful heart—one that shines and aches and yearns, and above all else, one that loves fiercely against all odds. Years from now, you will remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you experienced this. A transcendent story about truth, love, and finding joy.” — Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Warcross series
“This is a gorgeous book. It’s tender and fierce, beautiful even as it depicts some ugly truths. Tahereh’s prose is passionate and honest, unsentimental and big-hearted. The very best books move you to reconsider the world around you, and this is one of those. I truly loved it.” — Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star
“Tahereh Mafi, known for her fantasy and dystopian novels, proves a master of the contemporary realistic novel, as well, with A Very Large Expanse of Sea, longlisted for a National Book Award. Shirin’s first-person voice bristles with anger, wit and pain. Even as the fraught love story drives the short chapters to a surprising close, Mafi weaves in moments of camaraderie and joy.” — Washington Post
“Mafi tackles the life of an American Muslim teenager in the wake of 9/11 in this visceral, honest novel. Shirin’s sharp, raw voice narrates, and her captivating story opens a window onto a different narrative than the one typically dominating the airwaves after 9/11. Mafi excels at highlighting the relationships between her characters. Rich characters, incisive writing, and a powerful story will thrill readers.” — ALA Booklist (starred review)
“[Mafi’s] writing is nuanced and smart. Shirin and Ocean’s interactions are palpable, and the discussions and exploration of what it means to be a Muslim in politically charged America will resonate with many teens and will be enlightening for some.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Mafi gives vivid voice to an underrepresented audience in this story. The teens’ rich personalities, desires, powerful emotions and struggles come together to form a memorable work. An outstanding contemporary novel, A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a realistic love story that provides a much-needed perspective.” — Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“This gripping political romance takes readers into the life of a young Muslim woman trying to navigate high school with the entire world attacking her right to her body and her faith. A moving coming-of-age narrative about the viciousness of Islamophobia and the unwavering power of love in post-9/11 America.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A contemporary love story with a heartbreakingly realistic portrait of one post-9/11 Muslim life in the United States. Mafi openly addresses many common misconceptions about Islam and what it means to be a woman of color in the face of racism, showing how differences can be applauded, not feared.” — Publishers Weekly
“This story holds a mirror up to the ugly reality of religious bigotry. That disturbing truth, however, is offset by a portrait of a strong Muslim teen girl who defies stereotypes on multiple levels. Shirin insists on her right to approach life on her own clear-eyed terms, granting compassion to the deserving and an education to those who need it.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Cerebral, impassioned, and zeitgeisty... Mafi’s sincerity stands out in full force in her craftsmanship. A Very Large Expanse of Sea is timeless in its themes and will continue to affect readers, months after they’ve closed the book.” — NPR
“A Very Large Expanse of Sea is the love story you need to read next.” — Teen Vogue
“Mafi seamlessly works in questions of identity, race and Islamophobia [and] taps into the fierceness and passion of first love. The novel’s bittersweet ending will ring true for most, and break the hearts of many.” — New York Times Book Review
“Tahereh Mafi soars to new heights with A Very Large Expanse Of Sea. A singular new novel from one of YA’s brightest voices.” — Entertainment Weekly
“A masterfully constructed novel. The characters are beautifully developed and authentic. [Shirin’s] voice is fierce, funny, vulnerable, and honest. Mafi’s novel challenges readers to ponder their own beliefs, assumptions, and actions. And, also reminds us of the captivating bliss of first love.” — Nerdy Book Club
PRAISE FOR THE Shatter Me SERIES: “Written with precision and a sense of urgency, each chapter a strobe light–like moment in the lives of the teens trying to save their world. The prose moves readers swiftly from crisis to crisis.”
— Booklist Online
“Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly. Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Tahereh Mafi’s bold, inventive prose crackles with raw emotion. A thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love, the Shatter Me series is a must-read for fans of dystopian young adult literature-or any literature!” — Ransom Riggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children