Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: November 15, 2011
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.
Everybody has heard so much about this book. Literally, every bookish person out there has at least attempted to get their hands on this book. Before the book was even out, movie rights were sold. Tahereh had six major agents fighting to represent her. Tahereh Mafi shattered us.Before I read this, I was quasi-obsessed with getting this. I had won a copy from a blogger, but then they had emailed me a few days later saying “oh, I never meant to post that giveaway because I don’t want to giveaway my copy.” Honestly, that disappointed me because you can’t really “not mean” to post a giveaway. You have to write up the post and organize it. But that’s not the point. The point was that I was obsessed with getting this, and heartbroken that I wouldn’t be able to.I got an ARC from my indie, but I still think I’m going to buy the finished copy. Not for the cover, but it seems like the type of book that I’d want on my shelf. I must admit that for all the lead-up to the cover, it disappointed me a little bit. HarperCollins usually comes up with the most beautiful designs, and this one just seemed slightly blah. The cover is prettier in person, but I don’t think that it does the book justice.In a dystopian world, everybody's more concerned with how the color of the sky is wrong and how everything is wrong in the world. There's an organization called the Reestablishment that claims to try to fix things. They started taking power, and now they have it all. But now they have started abusing it, and everybody else just cowers. The entire world is wrong, and nobody cares about the cries of a girl who kills people.Juliette has been treated like a monster her entire life. She doesn't know anything different. Her parents themselves even hated her, and when she accidentally hurt people, she was treated even more cruelly. Her touch is lethal.264 days ago, she killed somebody. It was an accident, but they still locked her up. She has barely kept time in a journal that she writes in. She doesn't know why she has this power, and she doesn't know how it works.When Juliette gets a roommate, she is shocked. Why on earth would the Reestablishment get her a roommate, a BOY no less, when she can't even touch him? She can't even get close to him because he would be disgusted. What could this boy have done that made him disposable? If she even accidentally brushed up against him, he could die.After an incredible discovery, Juliette starts talking to this boy, falling in love with this boy...Adam. But as the beginning of rebellion stirs and she has to make a choice, everything is off-kilter.Should Juliette use this awful power that people hate her for to help people? Or should she not use it at all? Should she be a "weapon" or a "warrior"?One of the reasons that everybody was fighting over this book was because of Tahereh Mafi’s writing. I had heard that it was amazing, but I knew her as hilarious from Twitter, so I didn’t really pay them as much attention. When I started reading Tahereh’s blog, however, that’s where you strike gold. She knows how to pluck words from the air and spin them into dizzyingly stunning sentences.It’s the type of writing that honestly leaves you with your mouth gaping wide at the book just unable to formulate in words how it affected you. Her writing style was elegant and her format was different.I loved the format. Tahereh optimized her use of strikethroughs in Juliette’s journal to create a mixture of things said and things left unsaid. It was a bit confusing at first, but I picked up the rhythm. It's such a simple technique, but I've never read a book that somebody would do that. It also let us have little glimpses into what Juliette was thinking, but didn't really want to let us in on.I loved that because it felt almost like Juliette was telling us a story and then backtracking. It felt like she was talking to us, awkwardness and gushing and all.She wasn’t telling us about her pain, but she was showing it to us.Which is another point to make. Tahereh Mafi has done the most showing in this book, and she doesn’t TELL us anything. She shows us. That is perhaps one of the most important rules of writing: don’t tell the reader; show them. I honestly don’t know how she made her writing so perfect. Just coming up with the raw sentences would take me ages.Juliette was a quiet character. She had a quiet strength. She was so used to pushing people away (not literally!) and used to everybody calling her a monster. Being treated like a monster. Nobody should have to go through that kind of treatment. She knew what people thought of her and what she had done to deserve it, but nothing was outright her fault.Could she really help what had happened to her? Could she really help being chosen to be the person able to take people’s lives away with one touch? Honestly, there was a huge sadness that came with the fact that people were scared of her. Imagine walking through life and having nobody’s sympathy, where everybody cowered away from you and they decided to lock you up.People couldn’t understand it when she said things were an accident. But one thought that ran through my head while I was reading this was, was it safer to lock her up or was it unnecessary? Could she really do anything to try to stop herself?The worst part of it all for Juliette was that sometimes it felt good to touch other people. She doesn’t even realize that she’s killing them, but if she does, she tries to stop. Sometimes she can’t help it, and sometimes she makes mistakes.Occasionally she would do things that made you realize that aside from her “gift”, she was different. She thought differently than most people, and whether that was Tahereh Mafi herself or the fact that Juliette had been treated like a plague for years, we were never really sure.Juliette was sweet, but deadly. She was treated like a monster and was therefore filled with the self-loathing that only seems to come with being hated. It was awful to hear about, and she’s such a sad character that it really made this book actually emotional, while still delivering some insane action and romance. I loved Juliette, and how she was withdrawn but not monotone. She had a voice, and that’s what stood out.Juliette was also clever. She could figure out almost everything and she slowly gathered information while she was locked up. She managed to make everything change, and few people ever have that power in books. She grew in herself as the book went on, and although I don’t think it was the purpose of the book, her character evolved and got stronger. According to Tahereh, the sequel is exploring the characters even more and we’ll learn even more about their backgrounds, which I really love the idea of.Before I talk about Adam, I really just have to gush about Warner. This is possibly one of the only books where I like the villain better than the normal guy. It’s awful, but for me, Adam just seemed like any other guy. He was rather average and plain, and I didn’t see anything that made him stand out to me.Warner was dark. He was twisted, and he had the worst logic that I’ve ever heard, but he was determined. I’ll admit that he was strange and the tiniest bit crazy, but for some reason, I just loved him. He struck me as intense and fierce and just overall like every guy you want to hear about. He was that guy you think about in your dreams (but he’s evil).Although in some ways he was like a child. When he wanted something, he had to have it and he didn’t care how he got it. He seemed spoiled, which is a strange quality to find in an older guy. Anyways, Warner seemed spoiled, but he also had the most magnetic qualities about him. I don’t even know why I liked him, just that I did.Adam on the other hand, I described above. He seemed pretty plain to me, loyal, nice, and steadfast. Although for me, that describes almost every other YA male love interest. I’m fine with that honestly, but I didn't think it worked in the book for me. I would like to see Juliette end up with somebody like her. It was just the way that he was so plain! I wondered if that was supposed to be a contrast. I love him though. Don’t get me wrong, there were some pretty intense parts with him and Juliette but I just didn't think that he stood out to me in them. I did love his adoration for people though.One of the best parts about hearing about Juliette was hearing about her background. The pure, hate-filled things that people said to her, that people did to her, were just awful. Honestly, she was a child. A dangerous child, but a child nonetheless. It was terrible to hear about, but it added some texture to what we were hearing about her modern-day life. There was a lot about childhood in here, and Juliette regretted certain things that she couldn't help.She couldn't help that her touch killed people. She seemed to yearn for somebody to love her and somebody to look at her and see just a girl. Everybody hated her without getting the chance to learn about her. It seemed to be the loneliest life imaginable. I pitied her, and everybody did who read this book. It was just heartbreaking.I loved the love scenes, but with such a flat character, I know that I didn’t appreciate it as much as if it had been with a different character. I really enjoyed reading all of them though. Tahereh knows how to write everything!There were some pretty steamy (wink to anybody whose read the book and gets that reference) scenes, but I couldn't remember anything more than kissing. I perceived it as clean and I'm thirteen. Although I'd say that this isn't for younger kids, I'd say that it's about 13/14 and up.There was less action than I was hoping though. There was intensity, but far less action than I was expecting. There were certain incidents that had a lot of impact, but were single incidents, so they didn’t really lead to anything else. It was punctuated by fear and by the emotional writing that made this book a standout. I have the feeling that this was more of a world-building (excellent but I think that the sequel will have more action) novel, so I can't wait to see where the series leads.During the second half of the book, we get to see part of the bigger picture. We are introduced to more characters, the larger conflict apart from Juliette v. Warner. We get to see how the conflicts in the book affect the world, and why it's important. I liked how Tahereh set this up because some authors seem to lack that perspective.Towards the beginning, I'll admit that I had yet to see the spark that people were talking about in this book. But it grew and grew until the entire book was an inferno. It had action and romance and everything that you could ever want for a book. Plus, although the cover seems to me as more of a girl-aimed book (not that guys don't read them either; I was just talking about the dress and shine) but the taglines and the book itself will definitely appeal to boys too. I know that that's been a problem with people typecasting books as "boy" or "girl" books. There's something for everybody in this.A lot of books, if they are action, seem to JUST be action or emotion but this was both, mixed together to the perfect amount. It left you so that you felt connected to this book. It was just...stunning. It takes your breath away and leaves you totally incoherent, like me trying to scramble for the perfect words to describe this book.There really are no words because you just have to read the book. The words describing this book are the ones inside the book. This book is hard to even try to begin to sum up. Sorry for taking so long to review this book; I had to gather my thoughts days after I read this just to get over the initial shock of this book.If you have the chance, go read this book. Explosive, lyrical, gritty, and stunning, Tahereh sets the stage for a spectacular sophomore novel.Recommended for anybody who loves: The Hunger Games; Perfect Chemistry; Maggie Stiefvater; Speak; etc,.No book club questions for this book. Just enjoy it.