Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Pages: Hardcover; 352
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence, Mild Language
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Lovers of an intensely good story.
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.
This book blew me away.
Shatter Me has undertones of dystopian fiction, but it is really its own entity. How do I explain this? Imagine that your favorite paranormal, superhero, and dystopian books were put into a blender to make one single book. That right there? That would be this book.
Now I think it's important I start off with the writing style in Shatter Me because that seems to be the one thing that might keep people from falling in love with this gorgeous book. I'll admit, Tahereh Mafi's writing style is unlike anything I've read before. It's eerily prosaic, wonderfully descriptive, and oddly disconcerting, all at the same time. Replete with strikethroughs and repeated phrases, it feels sometimes like you might be going crazy yourself. I think it's important to remember that the reader is inside Juliette's head during the story. This is a girl who hasn't seen another person, hasn't touched another person, for what seems to her to be an endless amount of time. Being in Juliette's head can be off putting, or it can be beautiful. It all depends on how much you allow yourself to be immersed in the girl, and the world, that is built here.
Juliette's character is what really brings Shatter Me to life. Constantly fighting a battle between the madness that she thinks still might consume her, and the giving person Adam knows her to be. Juliette is equal parts strong willed and vulnerable. The knowledge that her power can harm others cripples her, and she constantly wavers between feeling like a monster and a normal girl. Juliette truly has a power that can be used for good or evil, and both opportunities are presented to her. It might sound cliche at first glance, but I assure you that the girl on the pages is anything but that. Juliette's wariness at trusting others, her need to help even if she isn't sure if she should, her constant questioning of herself even when she's fairly sure that she is right, is all the product of her past. Tahereh Mafi builds up a girl who is believable and unique wrapped into one package. Juliette isn't perfect, and I loved her for that.
Shatter Me is definitely dsytopian, and the world that is built around Juliette's story is amazing. Cities crumble to the ground in the wake of The Reestablishment. People cower in doorways as what is left of society is patrolled, and essentially owned, by the soldiers who are loyal to the movement. The explanation as to how this came about hit very close to home for me. To say that this world is possible, well that's an understatement. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that there is a distinct possibility we really could get to that point. It made me ponder that, and that made me fall even further under the spell of this book.
If you can't tell from my musings above, I fell madly in love with this story. Devouring 120 pages in half an hour let me know that I was in for the long haul. I admit that I know that it won't be for everyone. As I mentioned, the writing style is different and might put some people off. However I can honestly say that if you give it a chance, if you allow yourself to fall wholeheartedly into Juliette's world, you might just find a story that will immerse you like it did me. Shatter Me is a refreshingly unique read that I enjoyed thoroughly. If there is indeed a sequel coming, I can't wait!
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.