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An Emotion of Great Delight

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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 h 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-- It's broken. 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. She explodes. 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.


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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 h 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-- It's broken. 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. She explodes. 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.

30 review for An Emotion of Great Delight

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    The title: An Emotion of Great Delight. The desription: "a really sad book". Me: The title: An Emotion of Great Delight. The desription: "a really sad book". Me:

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jananie (thisstoryaintover)

    brb i'll be crying for the next year. i loved this. Tahereh has a way of capturing profound sadness like no one else—the kind of emotion I often felt myself feeling as a teen that was inexplicable. While I wish we explored a couple things more, I think this was incredible. there were just so many lines i marked down and wanted to burn to memory, and i felt my breath leave me in so many of the scenes. i wish i didn't relate so hard to this (in more ways than one) but i really did. for anyone who' brb i'll be crying for the next year. i loved this. Tahereh has a way of capturing profound sadness like no one else—the kind of emotion I often felt myself feeling as a teen that was inexplicable. While I wish we explored a couple things more, I think this was incredible. there were just so many lines i marked down and wanted to burn to memory, and i felt my breath leave me in so many of the scenes. i wish i didn't relate so hard to this (in more ways than one) but i really did. for anyone who's experienced complicated family relationships or had the excruciating experience of going through a friend break up—this is the book for you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    dana

    I started this book because it was Ramadan and I figured I could read another book with muslim rep... and I hated it. I’ve felt weird about Mafi’s muslim (hijabi??) rep in the past with Nazeera from Shatter Me and how she regarded the hijab as an accessory without actually speaking about the religious significance of it properly. I was hoping to see her representation the religion better in this book but I was just really disappointed. The setting of this book is after 9/11 but honestly this boo I started this book because it was Ramadan and I figured I could read another book with muslim rep... and I hated it. I’ve felt weird about Mafi’s muslim (hijabi??) rep in the past with Nazeera from Shatter Me and how she regarded the hijab as an accessory without actually speaking about the religious significance of it properly. I was hoping to see her representation the religion better in this book but I was just really disappointed. The setting of this book is after 9/11 but honestly this book could just be me living my life in 2021 so there’s nothing “historical” about it. The conversation that the main character has with Nate about the burqa was just overall really unnecessary. I still don’t know why it was written like that because the things Shadi said are consistent with what I have heard from islamophobes and those uneducated about the burqa. I feel like this book tried to talk about a lot of important issues... but it didn’t really address any of them. So many things happened and this book deals with so many important themes but it doesn’t really talk about them well or at all. As a Muslim American myself, I wanted to see myself and my religion well represented and I just didn’t get that from this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

    *cheering from the sidelines because Tahereh Mafi is finally free to write new books outside of the Shatter Me series* *screaming of joy because this is a new sad contemporary and she’s a bomb writer who deserves to write good books*

  5. 5 out of 5

    S the Reader

    "Like, you know what a burqa is? Those gross tent things the Taliban forces women to wear in Afghanistan?" * O_O Look, whatever our main character's beliefs are, it is irresponsible, as an author, to throw out something as damaging and misleading as the above and not address it again. While there is no doubt that many in the world, Taliban or otherwise, force particular groups of women to wear the burqa, there are many other women in the world who wear the burqa as an expression of their faith "Like, you know what a burqa is? Those gross tent things the Taliban forces women to wear in Afghanistan?" * O_O Look, whatever our main character's beliefs are, it is irresponsible, as an author, to throw out something as damaging and misleading as the above and not address it again. While there is no doubt that many in the world, Taliban or otherwise, force particular groups of women to wear the burqa, there are many other women in the world who wear the burqa as an expression of their faith and probably don't need books like this consolidating the idea that their garb of choice is a "gross tent thing". Not all practice the religion to the same degree, or in the same ways. It's extremely silly to suggest one form is somehow superior or more liberating or less "gross" than the other. We can condemn those who misuse religion and not alienate and insult a group of others at the same time. As a Muslim, there are parts of this book I connected to quite well, namely Shadi's experience of not quite belonging, of always being at an arms-reach away from her peers. I liked the blend of Eastern and Western culture and faith, and seeing a realistic portrayal of their constant intertwinement. There were other parts, from a religious standpoint, that I felt a little separated from. For example, there is a lot of sin in this book, but it feels like it is only barely acknowledged. (view spoiler)[Personally, it didn't make sense to me for our main character to be a Muslim and kissing and engaging in pre-marital contact and for the Islamic viewpoint of this to be almost entirely absent from the narrative (hide spoiler)] . At one point, the sins of Shadi's brother are compared against those of her father's and Shadi states that she's quite certain, that in the eyes of God, her brother was a better person. Like most Muslims, I believe God is the ultimate judge, and it's little moments like this in the book that made me take a step back. One thing I remain unsure of is whether or not I like Mafi's writing style - a problem that I had with her previous books. There are moments when it feels just right, with sweeping beautiful sentences laced with all the needed emotions. Despite my misgivings throughout the book, I did keep going quite effortlessly, and I think that's down to the strange compelling nature of her words. There were other moments, however, when I thought it was a fraction too dramatic, too messy, too loaded with quirkiness. I don't know. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. The weirdest part of the book for me was the ending. It's vague and abrupt and feels like it's missing a chapter or two. There's not much conclusion or resolution in this book, and maybe that was intentional, but the effect is a bizarre one. It doesn't feel realistic really... just kind of pointless. *Quotation taken from ARC and may therefore be different in final copy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Glire

    We have a name and we know it's "really sad". We have a name and we know it's "really sad".

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sahil Javed

    another sad contemporary from tahereh mafi with a beautiful title? where do i sign up to have my emotions destroyed?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fer Bañuelos (myownlittlebookshelf)

    English/Español EN: Thank you netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review! I'm stuck between 2.5 and 3 stars. It's been a long time since I've been this conflicted about a book. We follow Shadi, a muslim girl living in a post 9/11 America. She struggles to find balance between her beliefs and her feelings, having a lot of problems at home. She takes us in an extremely emotional journey, one that you can't leave without feeling the weight of it in your h English/Español EN: Thank you netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review! I'm stuck between 2.5 and 3 stars. It's been a long time since I've been this conflicted about a book. We follow Shadi, a muslim girl living in a post 9/11 America. She struggles to find balance between her beliefs and her feelings, having a lot of problems at home. She takes us in an extremely emotional journey, one that you can't leave without feeling the weight of it in your heart. Something that I really enjoyed about the story is how powerful it is. Every emotion that Shadi feels you feel it too as you read her words, packed with anger and hope. Tahereh's writing style has always been of my favorites. Her way with words is so distinctive and I always enjoy reading her work. Shatter Me and A Very Large Expanse of Sea are some of my favorite books because of that. Another aspect I quite liked was reading about a culture completely different from my own. To be honest I'm not that aware of Iranian culture but I really liked learning more form it, even it was in little amounts, from the book. That being said, I had some problems with the book, but I feel most of them are due to some personal preferences. I've never been a fan of stories that take place in a few days. Sometimes they start to feel a little rushed to me and that's what happened with AEOGD. On the other hand, "slice of life" stories are some of my favorites, and I was hopping this book could reach a happy medium with both of them. That didn't happen though. So many things happened, a lot. That would not had bothered me as much if they were somewhat resolved at the end, but I just felt a little unsatisfied when I finished the book. I completely understand why the author did it, there's a beauty in how the story wrapped up and how we say goodbye to Shadi, but I just wanted a LITTLE more. Overall that made me feel a little disconnected with the book, not only with Shadi as a character but with everything else that happened. I think that maybe I will be in the minority here. An Emotion of Great Delight is a beautiful but heart-wrenching story that I could foresee myself returning to in the future to give it another chance, but as of right now it isn't my favorite of Tahereh's work sadly. ESP: Tengo que decir que no estoy seguro si es un 2.5 o un 3, hace mucho que no estaba tan conflictuado con la calificación de un libro. Y también estoy triste de decir que este definitivamente es una de mis decepciones del año. Ya saben que AVLEOS es uno de mis favoritos de la vida, entonces cuando vi un nuevo contemporaneo de Tahereh yo tenía las ganas por los cielos. Pero al final este libro no me terminó satisfaciendo como yo esperaba. De hecho, me dejo medio abrumado. Lo bueno del libro es algo que nunca falta en un libro de Tahereh: está bellamente escrito y cada emoción planteada es inevitable que no la sientas tú también. Es una historia que, a pesar de corta, trae un golpe emocional consigo muy fuerte y tuve una experiencia bastante diferente mientras lo leia. Podría decir que si me dejo mucho al terminarlo. Pero, diciendo eso, si tuve problemas con el libro. No me encantan las historias que toman lugar en pocos días, porque siempre me quedo con las ganas de tener más desarrollo que unos cuantos días no me puede dar. Y, con eso, en este libro está sucediendo mucho, demasiado. Eso no me hubiera molestado si hubieramos tenido un poco de resolución para ellos al final, pero cuando lo terminé quedé muy insatisfecho. Entiendo el porqué la autora tomó esa dirección, de hecho creo que hay un cierto tipo de belleza en la forma en la que se da el final, pero me quedé con ganas de más. Si podría decir que AEOGD es un libro al que, posiblemente, le de una segunda oportunidad en el futuro y volver a visitar a la historia, especialmente ya que tenga la copia final ya que este se lanze, pero puedo decir que es mi libro menos favorito de la autora por mucho. ------- Donaria ambos de mis riñones y mi nalga izquierda por una copia avanzada de este libro

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا

    [April 4, 2020] Joy... happiness? [May 26, 2021] The character's name Shadi which means Happy in Farsi but in Arabic it's شادي this name is for males and it means a singer with a beautiful voice, it could be applied to birds and humans, if you want to name a female we add a ة and it becomes شادية. [June 2, 2021] That's a first! I didn't like this book. I really disliked Shadi. First time I didn’t enjoy a book by Tahereh. I found the book full of nonsense sometimes and at other times full of pain a [April 4, 2020] Joy... happiness? [May 26, 2021] The character's name Shadi which means Happy in Farsi but in Arabic it's شادي this name is for males and it means a singer with a beautiful voice, it could be applied to birds and humans, if you want to name a female we add a ة and it becomes شادية. [June 2, 2021] That's a first! I didn't like this book. I really disliked Shadi. First time I didn’t enjoy a book by Tahereh. I found the book full of nonsense sometimes and at other times full of pain and unreasonable anger. When I say unreasonable I mean the true anger should not be on her father. I must add that no, there's no mistake in translating Quran, God is a He, I'm an Arabic speaker. Shadi is an angry teen, she places her sadness on others, her siblings, her parents, and her best friend. I found her weak, passive, and very pessimistic. First, that girl isn't her best friend, any friend who has a HUGE problem with you being with their sibling is a red light. Secondly, her dad has every right to be sad and mad at his son, the guy was bad. In Islam, we have this story in Quran about a couple who loses their son early, the conclusion it's better for them, God wouldn't have taken that boy after the father was mad at him unless he was a bad boy. If your faith doesn't allow you to see that as Shadi is blinded by anger, she shouldn't have wished her dad dead, the mother is completely dependent on him. My problem with Americanized foreigners isn't that they feel patriotic to the country they live in (that's just human nature), is that they get mad when local people say they don't belong. Well, so what if you don't? You can't belong to a land fully when the country isn't the same as how you were raised, or your values and religion are making you an enemy of the local people, even if you were born there. I understand how the media intensified that, but living in a country that vocalizes hatred so publicly to Muslims should make that feeling stop, or at least for one to live in constant caution. One's civic duty and nationally isn't always in sync, ask any Palestinian. Living in a time where passports are bought doesn't guarantee loyalty just a fresh start. Even if you like your new home, it doesn't mean the locals are hospitable, that's why it's very complex for Muslims to blend in a foreign society, not because they don't want to, but because they are labeled "not local", "different", "dangerous", and so on; if, as Shadi implied in the attack on her in the street, you can't fight back, then are you really a part of that society? You will always be the "other". When the country's laws don't protect you because you are the "other", is it really where you belong? I must add her characters don't seem Muslim, they make fun of hijab, nikab, they kiss and smoke; the disappointing part that hijab isn't a religious statement to her, just an attention-seeking fashion tool. I'm seriously disappointed with this book. In any case, I felt that the book ended when it was becoming sweeter. Which is sad.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    I absolutely loved A Very Large Expanse of Sea and thought that it had so much to say about race in America today. Unfortunately, this one did not resonate with me in the same way. I felt very uncomfortable with some of the statements made, and after reading a couple of reviews written by Muslim-Americans I can understand why I might have felt that way. I can't even begin to speak from their point of view, so I encourage readers to seek out the reviews from members of that community for a more a I absolutely loved A Very Large Expanse of Sea and thought that it had so much to say about race in America today. Unfortunately, this one did not resonate with me in the same way. I felt very uncomfortable with some of the statements made, and after reading a couple of reviews written by Muslim-Americans I can understand why I might have felt that way. I can't even begin to speak from their point of view, so I encourage readers to seek out the reviews from members of that community for a more authoritative and knowledgeable analysis. Otherwise, I did get some of the same emotions as I have with Mafi's previous books. She has a beautifully eloquent way of writing and it makes the scenes come to life in an incredible way. Her writing style is unique and really connects with the reader. I am very much NOT a fan of books with hazy resolution, and this book didn't have much in the way of wrap up at all. I like answers, and this novel doesn't provide them. I do recommend this book if you come into it knowing that all of your questions are not going to be answered. You should also read some of the more critical reviews from Muslim reviewers to understand a few of the controversial elements. I will continue to read books by this author in the future because her voice is distinctive. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    farith

    a really sad book? ok i'm in a really sad book? ok i'm in

  12. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    ➵ this made me cry tears of sadness and happiness, of loss and love. stories around family, faith, and fondness always pull me in and this one held me so strongly under the grey clouds. rtc.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Layla Fernanda

    what the hell was that ending? it looks like they cut about 10 chapters out of the book!!?!?!?

  14. 5 out of 5

    elena

    i did not expect to cry as much as i did with this one but here i am still, in fact, crying.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Avani ✨

    Loved it. ❤️

  16. 5 out of 5

    ♥Milica♥

    Ok so, I loved this book. But, I'm also not Muslim. So I'd suggest checking out what Muslim readers are saying about the book/rep first. Tahereh's writing is extremely beautiful and doesn't miss once. Everything (everything being the feelings) is described in great detail. Although there was something missing...other than several pages because the book ended in a confusing and abrupt way. Out of the characters I only liked Shadi, Ali, his parents and Noah, they had the most depth. Zahra I really Ok so, I loved this book. But, I'm also not Muslim. So I'd suggest checking out what Muslim readers are saying about the book/rep first. Tahereh's writing is extremely beautiful and doesn't miss once. Everything (everything being the feelings) is described in great detail. Although there was something missing...other than several pages because the book ended in a confusing and abrupt way. Out of the characters I only liked Shadi, Ali, his parents and Noah, they had the most depth. Zahra I really didn't like and everyone else I felt meh about. Noah only had a few scenes which really isn't fair. There was no point to his character in the grand scheme of things. Take out Noah and the story would hardly change. But he was still one of the best characters. The book is intense and hard to put down. If I were rating it based on feelings alone then it would be 5 stars. But there's the ending to consider, and the infamous burqa line. The latter Mafi addressed on Instagram so we'll see what becomes of that in future editions of the book. And as for the former... There's cliffhanger endings and then there's the ending of An Emotion of Great Delight. Absolutely nothing was resolved except maybe one tiny thing. It's so frustrating, to be so invested in the story and to get no closure. The very last line of the book can be interpreted two ways, as a rejection or not. But let's say that at least that part got resolved whichever way it went, what happened to Shadi's parents/their home life, did she mend her relationship with her sister, did she talk to Noah, what happened with her studies, did she go to college, and what about Zahra??? SO MANY QUESTIONS, ZERO ANSWERS. Despite that, I don't think this book was a waste of time. It's short, so are the chapters, and if you're looking for something meaningful that will leave you in pain then you can pick this up (but again refer to what I said at the very beginning).

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stella ☆Paper Wings☆

    So you're telling me a book that's called An Emotion of Great Delight... is actually filled with emotions of great sadness?? [image error] Whatever you say. So you're telling me a book that's called An Emotion of Great Delight... is actually filled with emotions of great sadness?? [image error] Whatever you say.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

    Thank you Librofm and HarperCollins for the gifted ALC! Where to start? Tahereh Mafi has been one of my favourite authors growing up. The Shatter Me series accompanied me when I was in school and I recall those being some of the best years of my life. I've been very excited about her writing books in different genres. I read A Very Large Expanse of Sea a few years back and I'll admit, it wasn't a favourite. I was a lot more excited about this one though and I definitely enjoyed this one a lot mor Thank you Librofm and HarperCollins for the gifted ALC! Where to start? Tahereh Mafi has been one of my favourite authors growing up. The Shatter Me series accompanied me when I was in school and I recall those being some of the best years of my life. I've been very excited about her writing books in different genres. I read A Very Large Expanse of Sea a few years back and I'll admit, it wasn't a favourite. I was a lot more excited about this one though and I definitely enjoyed this one a lot more. I love that we always take a deep dive into the emotions of the characters when it comes to Tahereh Mafi's book. That, paired with her wonderfully lyrical writing just makes the whole experience so much more interesting. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did such an amazing job in bringing the words to life. Being in Shadi's head was interesting, to say the least. Grief was the more dominant theme in this book (despite what the title says) and I definitely enjoyed how immersed I felt while listening to this. At some points, I felt like the emotions were my own and it gave me quite a lot of perspective. Shadi's stream of consciousness was like being in a whirlwind and I must say that that was my favourite part of the book. I love experiencing books like this because they always make me feel so much bigger than myself and they take me so much deeper. There were some points that bothered me. I felt like there was quite a bit of miscommunication here, especially between Shadi and her sister. Another thing was Shadi's definition of a 'best friend' which was just plain toxic. I understood her feeling like she was the only person who would understand her but the girl was plain terrible and I wanted Shadi to wake up and realise that. We do things too late sometimes but I just hated how she made quite a lot of excuses for her. Tahereh Mafi definitely delves into difficult subjects here like grief and the contradicting feelings that often come with it. Mental health is another one and I always appreciate how deep Mafi goes into this, there's definitely no tiptoeing around it. After reading A Very Large Expanse of Sea, I had an idea about how the romance would be in this one. Not the biggest fan of that but overall really loved this book. The ending felt abrupt to a lot of people but it left me with a sense of hope. It felt like a glimpse into her life and in the end, there are a ton of possibilities and choices left in front of her. I love a book that makes me feel hopeful by the end and this one was like that for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Asiyah

    I think often art requires no prior knowledge. This book however may need some context. Tahereh wrote the first draft of this book in a week. She had wanted to write this story of pain, she wanted it to be brief and end in hope not necessarily a resolution. She wanted to emphasize the realness of the pain young people experience. How beneath our muslim identities we experience grief, sorrow, joy, helplessness and pain the same way. With that context in mind the book is a masterpiece. It is the p I think often art requires no prior knowledge. This book however may need some context. Tahereh wrote the first draft of this book in a week. She had wanted to write this story of pain, she wanted it to be brief and end in hope not necessarily a resolution. She wanted to emphasize the realness of the pain young people experience. How beneath our muslim identities we experience grief, sorrow, joy, helplessness and pain the same way. With that context in mind the book is a masterpiece. It is the painful portrait of a human family - breaking. The relationship between Shadi, Her father and her brother to me was relatable. I have a father like hers, and I have a brother, one who often was deemed sinful. The amount of resentment she has towards her father for his actions is something I think people without this trauma will simply not understand. They will not understand that you want to hate people but cannot. That you still love them, of course, but still you blame them for their lack of understanding. Lack of empathy towards children and their pain. Parents who yell and shout and push us away until we have no other coping mechanisms except ‘sinful’ ones we can’t escape alone. This book is a powerful painful portrait of that. I hope people who read this - especially those significantly older than the protagonist can understand that. I saw many people complain about the lack of resolution, with Zhara or the plot in general. I hate open endings. But this book is not about fixing everything and making it perfect, life is never like that. The moral of the story is learning to reclaim hope and joy, learned that life goes on after grief. As for Zhara, (view spoiler)[ Ali clearly states that she was jealous of Shadi. And Shadi notes that from the beginning Zhara was never a good friend, hiding thinly veiled spite as jokes. (hide spoiler)] This book is a window into a world I have known for a long time. Even in simple terms its complexity is hard to explain and Tahereh Mafi took it upon herself to peel the layers for us. Not everyone will understand the message, but those can are those who can understand and admire complexity. Those who can look through the window and realize that they are seeing only part of a story, perhaps the most important part.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ☆ sana ☆

    more like 3.5 stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    *New Release* Full review to come. Thank you so much to Libro FM for allowing me to download this ALC in exchange for an honest review! 3.5 ⭐️.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Gillan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. i am very mad at myself for having such high expectations for this book. i mean tahereh mafi’s writing is beautiful (as usual) but in comparison to the rest of her books, it definitely comes in last place. i loved how vulnerable shadi was and the extremely realistic way she dealt with grief, especially as a teenager. but every other character sadly fell a bit flat. like what happened to noah?? why was he introduced and then in like two scenes afterward? also i honestly did not care for ali at al i am very mad at myself for having such high expectations for this book. i mean tahereh mafi’s writing is beautiful (as usual) but in comparison to the rest of her books, it definitely comes in last place. i loved how vulnerable shadi was and the extremely realistic way she dealt with grief, especially as a teenager. but every other character sadly fell a bit flat. like what happened to noah?? why was he introduced and then in like two scenes afterward? also i honestly did not care for ali at all. i was upset he didn’t care about how zahra treated shadi. also her mom! i wish that was resolved far more than it was. and then i don’t even want to talk about the ending... i literally stared at that last page for at LEAST five minutes. overall a decent book. i read it in one sitting so that must amount to something. i’m in love with mafi’s writing so giving this book anything less that 5 stars is so hard for me. i feel like this book was missing 100 pages. so much more could’ve been developed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    Very slice of life, very heavy on the feels, very stream of consciousness (or at least that’s how it felt to me), and it feels like the type of tale only Mafi could tell in this way.

  24. 5 out of 5

    imman Shah

    It is so hard to read a book so close to home, so close to me as a person, and to walk away feeling so conflicted. I wanted so badly to like this review, to follow Shadi's journey. But there is so much done wrong in this book, that I felt so frustrated. The first problem I had with this book is that there is just way too much going on, in a short amount of time. We meet Shadi, and we learn the following * Her Dad is in the hospital * Her Brother has died * She lost her best friend * She likes he It is so hard to read a book so close to home, so close to me as a person, and to walk away feeling so conflicted. I wanted so badly to like this review, to follow Shadi's journey. But there is so much done wrong in this book, that I felt so frustrated. The first problem I had with this book is that there is just way too much going on, in a short amount of time. We meet Shadi, and we learn the following * Her Dad is in the hospital * Her Brother has died * She lost her best friend * She likes her ex-best-friend brother * Her Mom is depressed * She lives in a post 9/11 world I just felt like everything was too much, and because we had so many problems, nothing was adequately explored. We didn't find conclusions to ANY of the problems addressed, which left me feeling angry. I don't think it's okay to introduce so many problems but provide not a single path to healing. Additionally, I think Mafi didn't tackle the idea of Muslim Identity well in this story. I do not expect Shadi, a 17-year-old girl, to have herself figured out as a Muslim-American, and to expect so would be unreasonable. However, Mafi switches back and forth between Shadi being totally in tune with God and religion to someone who found it to be excessive and strange. I understand the feeling of dichotomy and feeling so divided, but I think that some of the thoughts she had were just irresponsible. For example, the talk she has with Noah about the burqa is just so wrong on so many levels, and I found it ironic because it is no different than what people say about Muslims wearing a hijab. This book had so very little to do with post-9/11 America. It was mentioned like once or twice, but overall this story could have taken place in 2020 with no problem. I think that it was a mistake to market it as such. It would have done way better to market this book about a girl's problem with identity and grief, which is at its core. There is also a BIG problem with Mafi's writing. I have always disliked her writing style because it has always felt flamboyant with a lack of substance. And reading the first chapter gave me such a hard whiplash because what teenager even talks like this? At all? I was once 17 not that long ago, and I have a sister who is 17. Her descriptions and style become so much it's suffocating, and it really takes away from the idea that Shadi is a teenager. The ending was so rushed it hurt, and the whole plot with Ali was such bullshit I can feel it hot in my blood. I hated how fast the ending happened and how the ending gave us absolutely NOTHING. Zip. Nadda. I can go on and on about what I had problems with, but I just feel disappointed. I can tell that Mafi wrote from a place of genuine hurt and pain, but it is just too complicated and hurried. Most of all, as a Muslim-American myself, I did not love what was being written and I could not see myself in the story. I wanted so badly to love this book, but it's just a depression ride with very little clarity, direction, and insight. ARC was provided by NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for a fair review

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. this book has content warnings for self-harm, death of a brother, grief, and suicidal thoughts okay SO this is definitely different from avleos (for many reasons) but i think it's still a stunning book. i don't want to rate it because i don't think it is rateable for me? like yes it was enjoyable and the writing is great and i enjoyed it but i just don't know where a rating would be. because i think overall my issues with it were the plot and the ending? (view spoiler)[mainly that we don't have a this book has content warnings for self-harm, death of a brother, grief, and suicidal thoughts okay SO this is definitely different from avleos (for many reasons) but i think it's still a stunning book. i don't want to rate it because i don't think it is rateable for me? like yes it was enjoyable and the writing is great and i enjoyed it but i just don't know where a rating would be. because i think overall my issues with it were the plot and the ending? (view spoiler)[mainly that we don't have a lot of closure - which i think is the point and so i'm trying to come around to it. (hide spoiler)] what i think is so interesting is that this book is centered on shadi and JOY and ultimately...this is a very sorrowful book. it's full of grief and harsh words and hate and death, and the joy is buried deep deep down. and the more i sit with it, the more poetic it is. but that doesn't change the fact that i just...was not a fan of how some of the plot played out. (view spoiler)[ also i was just really confused about noah? like i felt like his purpose was just...to show that shadi could make friends? which is fine i guess but i wanted more from his character i guess...and i felt like we deserved more information about zahra or some kind of resolution there? idk i'm not usually good with no closure books - and like, i get why there's no closure! i really do! but i'm still miffed about it. i think there could've been a happy medium somewhere. (hide spoiler)] but i absolutely LOVED the writing style (as always), loved all the commentary on faith and god and learning more about persian culture...tahereh has a wonderful gift for words and i feel honored that i get to step into her head once again. this book is so important, and i cherish it deeply.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Sifuentes

    a lot happened but at the same time nothing really did (???)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hayden (bookish.hayden)

    I found this book to be very powerful. I finished it four days ago and still really don't know that I can articulate my thoughts on it. It's a very interesting novel, unlike anything I've read, but I'm unsure if that's necessarily good or bad. I definitely recommend seeking out Muslim reviews when looking into this book, as their opinion is what matters most. I waffled between leaving the review starless, but I ultimately think that 3 stars works for me for now. Content Warnings: death of a sibl I found this book to be very powerful. I finished it four days ago and still really don't know that I can articulate my thoughts on it. It's a very interesting novel, unlike anything I've read, but I'm unsure if that's necessarily good or bad. I definitely recommend seeking out Muslim reviews when looking into this book, as their opinion is what matters most. I waffled between leaving the review starless, but I ultimately think that 3 stars works for me for now. Content Warnings: death of a sibling, death due to drunk driver, smoking, depression, mentions of self harm, therapy, and institutionalization, sick parent, heart attack, heart disease, bullying, kissing. 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, and Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down. With her brother is dead, her father dying, her mother falling apart, and her so-called best friend ditching not only her hijab, but also her closest friend. Shadi tries her best, but navigating the world is just so hard, with her broken heart in tow, she hides her pain until the day she finally lets loose. Shadi is a very angry teenager. She's angry, struggling with grief, and very, very alone. We learn a lot about Shadi very quickly, as everything in this book happens at breakneck speed to be honest. Shadi's relationship with her religion felt complicated, to me that felt realistic though. I know that there are a lot of people of all religions who are happy and comfortable within their beliefs, but I also know that there are people who struggle, and Shadi definitely struggled. My opinions or thoughts on her Muslim representation don't matter in the slightest though obviously. Her character was really sad, she had absolutely no will to do anything really, no spine to stand up to others, and no sense of self preservation. Since the book happens in such a short span of time there really isn't much character growth, though she kind of had a breakthrough at the end? Maybe? Who knows. Shadi's family is also complicated. Her brother is dead, her father's in the hospital with a heart condition following a few heart attacks, and her mother is severely depressed. Her sister was just kind of there? Like she was a fully developed character but we only saw bits of her through Shadi's eyes. Overall her family life was very tragic feeling, and hard to read. Her dad spends almost the entire book in the hospital, and her mom spends it very depressed, and attempts suicide once. Zahra is a complicated character to judge. She was objectively horrible. Horrible to Shadi, horrible to Ali, and overall not a pleasant character. But it's hard for me to judge her decisions when all she was trying to do was stay alive. She stopped wearing hijab not because she wanted to, but as an act of self preservation. I cannot imagine what the world was like at the time of this story, and therefore have no place judging her. The way she was written through Shadi's eyes made her the villain though. I will admit that her not liking Shadi and Ali even speaking was weird to me. If it was because it was against Islam I'd understand, but it was very much written in a way that made it seem that Zahra just didn't like it because Ali was attractive and Shadi was her friend. Bad vibes from that. Ali is a complicated character once again. See a trend here? Ali is a complex character. He is distant from his religion and has some sort of a crush/feelings on Shadi, though we don't really get the why we just know he does. I guess this could be considered forbidden romance? I don't know. Their relationship was, and I'm really sorry for the repeated use of the word: complicated. Noah, oh Noah. The story could've not had Noah in it and nothing would've changed. Well, actually then the line with the burqa would've been cut. More on that later though. We know nothing about Noah, he did absolutely nothing for the plot, and we could've just not had him there. Tbh I barely remembered his name. The plot of this book is honestly a whirlwind. We learn many things very quickly, including the split with Zahra, about her parents, the lack of relationship with her sister, that her brother is dead, and that Shadi is kind of just there. Grief is the main theme of this book, and everything seems to come back to the death of her brother. This book happens so quickly and a lot goes on in a little amount of time. The whole burqa line in this felt so strange. Mafi clarified that she was specifically talking about a burqa that the Taliban forces people to wear, but from the response I've seen that reasoning hasn't been received well from the Muslim community. I think that Shadi could've shown or expressed her anger in a different way, and that everything related to Noah, including this conversation, could've been cut and nothing would've changed within the book. It just felt unnecessary and weird. Again my commentary on this isn't necessary, but neither was this scene? The world building was interesting. I don't know that this really felt as cemented in time as I'd expected it to be after reading A Very Large Expanse of Sea. This book felt as if it could have taken place in 2021 and nothing would've changed really, in my opinion. It's literally always raining in this book, or it felt like that anyways, and that really set the mood. The ending of this book was really just that, an ending. Nothing felt resolved, it maybe leaned a little hopeful? But honestly it just ended. I don't mind hopeful endings, and open endings, but it really felt like this book ended just as soon as things were beginning to look up, and I wanted more. It was definitely a choice to end where it did and I respect that, but I just wanted a conclusion. The writing style of this book was my favourite part. Mafi manages to write an incredibly fast paced book while simultaneously writing a slow paced book. Does that make sense? No, but it's what happened here. Overall I don't think it's wise of me to recommend this book. I think the writing was beautiful, and that the subject matter has potential, but I don't know that the representation within is good, and overall the story is intensely dark. I definitely recommend reading the content warnings beforehand if you plan on reading this book, and know that it is nothing like AVLEOS!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eden

    How do you give a book a million stars?!?! This book ruined me

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shannon McCarter

    Ow my heart

  30. 4 out of 5

    Oyinda

    Book 170 of 2021 3.25 ✨ Many thanks to Libro FM and Harper Audio for my ALC. This is my first Tahereh Mafi book, and I have to say that she's an exceptional writer. She knows how to weave words together and create vivid images in the reader's head. This book revolves around Shadi and her very complicated relationships with her family and friends. Shadi is struggling with a lot but so is everyone else and we get to see that unfold in this book. Grief is a huge theme in this book, and we get to see Book 170 of 2021 3.25 ✨ Many thanks to Libro FM and Harper Audio for my ALC. This is my first Tahereh Mafi book, and I have to say that she's an exceptional writer. She knows how to weave words together and create vivid images in the reader's head. This book revolves around Shadi and her very complicated relationships with her family and friends. Shadi is struggling with a lot but so is everyone else and we get to see that unfold in this book. Grief is a huge theme in this book, and we get to see her family try to pick up the pieces after her brother's death, how it affected each of them, and their relationship with each other. Romance also played a part but the romance was highly overshadowed by her best friend's insistence on the romance not happening, so I guess this falls under the forbidden romance trope? The writing was great and the plot was okay. I hate that lots of things were left unfinished and the readers have to come up with their own ending for a lot of the plot points. It was kinda just there. The characters were mostly annoying and one dimensional. They had some depth but no development. I kept wanting to throw hands with her 'best friend' because how can a person be so horrible? Lots of religious, traditional, and political themes and issues brought up but they somehow weren't discussed in depth, just on the surface. It was a short book though at about 6 hours plus. It was very emotional though and sad, but I wasn't able to tap into that feeling for a lot of the characters. I just kept wanting to fight the best friend. The blurb sold a lot of post-9/11 reality and as I said in the last slide, most things weren't dealt with in depth. It felt like they were mentioned for conversation and then never treated again. I still enjoyed this tho because at no point did I want to DNF it.

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