Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: HarperTeen
ARC, 342 pages
Date Published: November 15, 2011
Description (Taken 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.
Shatter Me is billed as a The Hunger Games meets X-Men, but I don’t really think it’s either of those things. It is an entirely unique, thrilling, emotional, beautifully written story about a girl who happens to be able to kill with a single touch; but also who happens to be one of the most selfless human beings left in the world. Juliette’s society is not unimaginable and that makes it just a little terrifying. Her world has been decimated by disease, by human disregard, and for the last three years, she has been cast aside as a freak, a psycho. Locked alone in a cell, she yearns for a life where birds fly through the sky and she can feel the touch, the love, of another.

Enter Adam.

He becomes her cellmate, her unwanted, but irresistible counterpart. They grew up together, but were never really close. Now he’s her savior and the only person who has ever been immune to her touch. Their relationship is deliciously tangible and heated. Tahereh Mafi amps up the tension again and again, until the reader is sitting along with Juliette, desperate for Adam’s touch. Their chemistry explodes off the page in the best way possible. There’s this shower scene that is the definition of sexy. And trust me, sexytimes are very sexy.

The society that Mafi has created lends to Juliette’s character, along with the plot. There is never a dull moment, thanks to the pulse-pounding action and Mafi’s short, clipped sentences. Her writing style makes every single occurrence, every single emotion, all that more urgent. Discovering what happened to the world, how the Reestablishment fits in, and Warner’s plans for Juliette will leave the reader on the edge of their seat. The addition of Kenji, Adam’s fellow soldier, brings color and humor into an otherwise drab landscape. His innuendos and sly remarks add to the overall impact of Juliette’s disparate world.

Juliette on her own –as she is so used to being – is strong, despite her past. Despite the hatred that has latched itself onto her being, despite being spit on, hit, destroyed time and again, she clings to her passion for life. For humanity. She could easily give in, give up. She could just as easily retaliate, what with powers that continue to elude her, but all she does is care. She’s strong, badass, but never cruel. The complete opposite can be said about Warner, the antagonist. Except I could never hate him. Hell, I even felt for him. Several times. While Juliette still views the world with hope and positivity, Warner’s vision is skewed to only see the negative, and thus, do whatever he needs to in order to survive. No, in order to thrive. He’s a villain all right, but one damn sexy villain. And just so everyone knows, I'm claiming him now. HE'S MINE!

The story is riveting and brilliantly written with an impressive cast of three-dimensional characters and an original storyline that plays out so completely. I’m eager for the next installment, but 100% content with the no cliffhanger ending. Trust me when I say that you’ll be hearing plenty about this book in the coming months. Mafi’s writing is exquisite, dropping the reader into Juliette’s mind and taking us along on her journey. Juliette’s only just begun to discover the person she’s going to be and I long for the opportunity to see her grow.

Shatter Me is a pound down the doors, scream at the top of your lungs, give me more, give me more kind of good. If you don’t read it, you’re out of your mind. When you do read it, you’ll go out of your mind. But you’ll be better off with the latter option because you’ll have experienced something so awe-inspiring with its beauty that you’ll be drooling for more. Tahereh Mafi is a masterful wielder of words, entrancing the reader in Juliette’s story from page one and then never letting go.

Opening line: I’ve been locked up for 264 days. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages (pretty much every single word in the book):
The world is flat.
I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I’ve been trying to hold on for seventeen years. I’ve been trying to climb back up for seventeen years but it’s nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand.
~ pgs. 25-26
And this one:
My life is four walls of missed opportunities poured in concrete molds. ~ pg. 29
And this one is my absolute favorite:
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction. ~ pg. 71
*This is an ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Tahereh Mafi online:

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Jessi said...

(1) I know exactly the shower scene you're talking about and...*swoon*. Please let me trade places with Juliette for that moment!

(2) I'm on the same page about Warner. Totally evil dude but I couldn't quite HATE him.

Great review! :-)

Jessi @ Reading in the Corner

Tiffany said...

Great review! This one sounds so good. This one is definitely on my wish list :)

Alexa said...

Wow this book sounds awesome, thanks for the great review. I will have to add this to my wish list already even though it doesn't come out for months.

~The Book Pixie said...

Okay so it has gotten to where it kinda annoys me when a new book is compared to others. Just say what you thought about it instead. XD Anyhoo, this book sounds amazing and like everything I crave in this genre. This is the first review I've read for this and now I kinda hate you because you've got me dying to read this and I got a long wait :P Excellent review!


Candace said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this one! I'm really really hoping I get it early!
Your review was amazing. The way you worded it, it just shows me how amazing it really is. Can't wait to read it!

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I keep holding off reviewing this one because I don't want to post my review too early, but you're killing me here. I'm totally sold on the premise. I want to take it off my shelf and read it now! Great review :)

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Jessi - Whenever you're feeling down, just think about the shower scene, then swoon :)

Tiffany - Add it to your wishlist! Pre-order it! Love it <3

Alexa - Trust me when I say that you NEED to add this one to your wishlist. It's one book you do not want to miss in the Fall.

The Book Pixie - I love that I made you kinda hate me. It makes me :P

Candace - My fingers and toes are crossed for you!

Melissa - Cave in and read it! You'll be so much happier that way. Promise.

Lori said...

OMG!!! I MUST read this book!!!

Awesome review! :)

BrittLit said...

The world is flat.
I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I’ve been trying to hold on for seventeen years. I’ve been trying to climb back up for seventeen years but it’s nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand. ~ pgs. 25-26 This plus your review make me KNOW that I have to read this one AS SOON as possible. Thanks for the awesome review. I'm glad there is no cliffhanger ending.

Danielle (Overflowing Shelf) said...

GAHH!! This book is sitting next to me BEGGING to be read but I want to read it in one siting. And this review made me want to read it even more. I mean "Sexytime is sexy." that sold me lol

Bere said...

Omg, Nikki, I love your review. I truly do. You have just made me want to read this one. ASAP. I even scrolled up a few times just to check and then double check when this one will be published. I'll definitely be pre-ordering a copy. Is this one going to be a series? Thanks so much, Nikki! =D

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...


BrittLit - Doesn't that quote just blow your mind? The entire first half of the book is full of stuff like that. My copy has about 40 flags in it with my favorite passages marked.

Danielle - Sexytimes are very, very sexy! But you know that, now that you've read it.

Bere - Haha, sorry for posting my review so early and making you want it, but have to wait for it, but I couldn't help it. I NEEDED to share my love for Shatter Me. I'm pre-ordering a copy myself, so I have the pretty, shiny (yet to be revealed cover) waiting for me once it releases.

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