Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Published by: Harper Collins
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 338
How I got this book: purchased hardback from Books-a-Million
My rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

"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."

Wow. Where do I even start??  Let me start by saying I loved this book so much that I did a presentation on it in my YA Lit class. I loved it so much I read excerpts from it to members of my family and made various people and my professor of my Materials for Children class read paragraphs from it. Yes, it's true...I was quite obnoxious about it!

Mostly what I loved so much was Mafi's writing style. It was SO different from anything out there. I know there is a lot of criticism out there about it. I personally found it refreshing. I usually am not one who is big on writing that is overly poetic...but it worked in this book. It was beautiful, and emotional, and just made me re-read lines over and over savoring the words. Let me give you an example. This is one of the paragraphs that I was making everyone was just so achingly beautiful to me...

"I always wonder about the raindrops.
I wonder about how they're always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It's like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn't seem to care where the contents fall, doesn't seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.
I am a raindrop.
My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab."

Another writing style that received a lot of criticism that I liked was the frequent use of the strikeout feature. The reason for this is that the book is written kind of like Juliette is writing in a journal. She crosses stuff out....this feature makes me feel like I am more "in her head." It's kind of like getting access to those thoughts that she doesn't even want people to read - thus she's crossing them out.

Ok, on to the characters. Other criticism that I have read is that Juliette is "insane." Um hello? She has been locked up in solitary confinement for the better part of a year...with NO human contact at ALL. And even before that, her own parents wouldn't even touch her! She was considered a monster. I thought she was quite well adjusted considering the circumstances...then after 264 days, Adam joins her as a cell mate. From being completely alone to sharing a tiny space with a really hot guy...mmmmm. I looooooooved me some Adam. He was so, so sweet to her. We find out in the book that they had gone to school together, and he was pretty much the only kid that was not mean to her. And that she had witnessed his abuse at the hands of his own father. That endeared him even more to me. I liked Juliette too. She was strong, but not unrealistically so. She was scared, but brave enough to do the things she needed to do. I felt like I could identify with her. Then there was the villain - Warner. I felt guilty for feeling this way, but for a short time, I actually thought I kind of liked him. I don't know why. After reading other reviews, I see I'm not alone in this feeling, so I don't feel so guilty now. But I can tell you that I got over this feeling really quickly! Team Adam all the way, baby! :)

It is so hard to go into the plot without spoiling...And I feel like my review is getting pretty long anyway, so I'm going to leave you with this trailer:

Read this book! It is fabulous! My only regret is having to wait a WHOLE YEAR for the next one - Unravel Me! I'm sure it will be worth the wait though!


Totally Booked Solid said...

Told ya .. aren't you glad I didn't steer you wrong with this book :) So glad you finally read it lol

Kate said...

I admit that the strike through annoyed me, at first. Once I got into the story, it mattered less. I ended up loving this book!

Jennifer said...

So know what you mean when it comes to Warner. I'm not one for villains but the way he was written was so impressive. Like you knew he was super evil but he had something. A je ne sais quoi fatcor and I do believe there is a lot to his story that we will learn about in Unravel Me.

Basically, I felt the exact same way about this book that you did, like in every way. Down to the poetic writing that I'm not a fan of usually but loved here.

And I loved the striking out feature. It made Juliette more real.

Melissa said...

Awesome review! I'm (not so) patiently waiting for this one to come in at the library -- and each raving review makes it just that little bit harder to wait!

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