An Emotion of Great Delight - book cover
Literature & Fiction
  • Publisher : HarperCollins
  • Published : 01 Jun 2021
  • Pages : 256
  • ISBN-10 : 0062972413
  • ISBN-13 : 9780062972415
  • Language : English

An Emotion of Great Delight

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.

Editorial Reviews

"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

"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 Childr...

Readers Top Reviews

ThindbooksKindle So
This was a great read! This book takes place during the time when the US declares war on Iraq and Shadi, who is a Muslim, faces some family struggles and struggles in society as she is not accepted by her peers. I really enjoyed Tahereh's writing in this book as this is my first contemporary book by her as I only read her other books, The Shatter Me series. I really enjoyed this novel as it shows a POV of a Muslim girl who goes through racism and family struggles in America after the time of 9/11. The writing was well done and I enjoyed how the story flowed as it was an emotional roller coaster. Though I have to say that the pacing wasn't that well done as the story went slow in the beginning and middle but went fast at the end with an erupting stop. I enjoyed the main character Shadi. She is a strong teenager who had to face so much struggle throughout the novel. In her POV, you will feel her emotions as they are your own. I wish there was more of a character development in this book as you don't see her grow as much throughout the story but see her go downfall as she faces so much. I guess that was the author's point to show that those struggles never ended and that Shadi had to face them afterward. I also enjoyed the side characters in this book as they brought either comfort to Shadi or struggles to make her stronger character. The author did a good job with describing each of the character's stories in this book but they didn't have the character development that I was hoping for. There is also some romance in this book which was cute and I enjoyed how it was a subtle touch to the book. Mostly I enjoyed the family theme in this book as it plays a major role in the story. I didn't really enjoy the ending. It was more of an open-ended ending with no proper explanation of what happened next. It felt that the story was left abrupt and there could have been more to it as the story was really good. I was also hoping for a little more but I wasn't disappointed with the overall story. There were some problems and struggles in this book but I enjoyed the meaning behind this story. This is perfect for fans who want to read a contemporary novel that deals with struggles in the real world.
Miss Print
Shadi means full of joy in Persian but Shadi's life is filled with personal sorrows. Her brother Mehdi is dead--killed in a car accident. Her father is probably dying in the hospital after his second heart attack; Shadi privately thinks he is getting exactly what he deserves while her mother and older sister Shayda do everything they can to take care of him. Shadi used to find refuge with her best friend, Zahra. But Zahra has dropped her. The way everyone seems to now. Shadi knows there are bigger problems in the world. It's 2003. Neighbors look at her askance because of her hijab. The United States has officially declared war on Iraq. The Muslim community is reeling from news of undercover FBI agents infiltrating local mosques. But Shadi's brother is still dead. Her best friend still hates her. She still misses the life she had before. When it seems like nothing can ever get better, Shadi wonders if she's found the way her story ends. Until Zahra's older brother, Ali, makes an overture to renew their friendship. And maybe start a tentative romance. Trapped in a morass of grief and isolation, Shadi will have to reclaim her right to happiness and peace if she wants to move forward in An Emotion of Great Delight (2021) by Tahereh Mafi. Mafi's latest novel reads like a time capsule cracked open, immediately drawing readers into Shadi's life. This quiet story offers an introspective look at Shadi's experiences as an Iranian American teen in 2003 where her personal dramas play out against the larger backdrop of world events impacting the Muslim community. Flashbacks to life before Mehdi's death cast Shadi's present isolation in stark relief as she hits bottom and slowly begins to realize she has to let go of her anger and grief before it eats her alive. An Emotion of Great Delight is a sparse story filled with lyrical prose, pathos, and ultimately optimism; a visceral read that cements Mafi's place in the YA canon. Possible Pairings: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, Ask Me No Questions by Marina Tamar Budhos, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, Yolk by Mary HK Choi, All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney, Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo, My Heart Underwater by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo, The Love and Lies of Rukshana Ali by Sabina Khan
Kindle ReaderD
I chose to give this book 5 stars because it deserves nothing less. I loved the feelings it made me feel and how it educated me and opened my eyes to the pain of people who are so harshly judged by stereotypes
Sabah Johnson
I preordered this so that I would get the free gift with it (a matching pouch/makeup bag) however I did not receive it. Still excited about the book though.

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