Book Reviews

[review] Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi

Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 342
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC from Lucy Tonkin

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 asThe 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.

Discovery: I started following Tahereh Mafi on Twitter before I learned about her book, and to be honest, I wasn’t hooked on the plot. When I won an ARC from Lucy of The Reading Date, I figured it was a sign that I should give it a try.

+     Writing style. I wanted to point this out first because it is a rather striking (pun intended) feature of the book. While the reader is led by first-person narration, there are passages on almost every page that are struck out, adding a disjointed feel to the story. I love that Tahereh Mafi took this risk and stuck with it, because the narration truly shines.

+     Juliette. I didn’t say much about the writing style above because a lot of my thoughts are connected to Juliette as a character. Obviously, the reader is presented with her perspective and ideas and out of the hundred-something books I’ve read this year, Juliette is one of the strongest voices I’ve encountered. She is determined and passionate and intelligent, which is why my brain automatically linked her to another strong female heroine: River Tam of Firefly.

In case you haven’t seen the show, River is a genius. In fact, that word still underestimates her. Her brilliant brother Simon–who became a doctor in eight months–refers to himself as an idiot child compared to River. Juliette is just as enthralling as River and with the same kind of dilemma: how can they keep from hurting the people they love? Is there even a choice? The struck-out passages reminded me of the tangents River would erupt into, seeming to babble on about nothing. It’s clear, however, that these secret words are the only way Juliette can stay sane. Her story wouldn’t be as compelling without them.

+     Romance. I remember tweeting Katie as I was reading Shatter Me and commenting on the smoldering scenes between Juliette and Adam. YA isn’t really known for sexy scenes, but Tahereh Mafi raised the stakes and still managed to keep it PG-13. Most parents won’t have a problem with the scenes in this book, and older readers like myself will enjoy the care Tahereh took in writing them. Sarah Dessen fans will know exactly what I mean when I say: SA-WOOOOOOON.

Recommendations: Buy a copy for yourself and for your best girlfriend and your favourite library. There are some steamy scenes that parents may want to watch for, but nothing is overwhelmingly sexy for a teenage reader.

Rating: Excellent.

Go visit Tahereh Mafi at her website and follow her on Twitter @taherehmafi.

You can check out Shatter Me on Goodreads and order it over at Amazon and Book Depository.

Next review: Crossed, Ally Condie


12 replies »

  1. Great review!!! Am dying to read this:D I’ve also heard about the strike out thingies in the book and was wondering whether they would be annoying but you seemed to enjoy them so that’s great:D

  2. I think my review (once it goes up) will be fairly similar to yours 🙂

    The writing style was what made the book for me- the way it read was just beautiful, like it truly rolled off your tongue. And I liked the strikethrough thoughts. Definitely added more to personality and character.

    I think Juliette really is one of the strongest, most admirable heroines in YA I’ve ever read about. Just incredible, and I love the story between her and Adam.

    Love the review, Angel 🙂

    Brenna from Esther’s Ever After

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