Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Released: November 15, 2011
Format: Trade paperback
Publisher: HarperCollins

Series: Shatter Me #1

Source: Personal shelf

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 Meis a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Shatter Me has gotten a lot of buzz on the blogs I follow and so I was quite excited to read it. Unfortunately, Tahereh Mafi‘s debut didn’t inspire me the way it has other readers. I love the premise, the plot, and the characters but I had a lot of trouble getting into the style of the book. The author uses a lot of crossed out text to convey Juliet’s state of mind and I found it irritating, in the same way that I found the formatting of Wake to be distracting. I understand the author’s intent but it didn’t translate for me.

Stylistics aside, however, I found Shatter Me to be very satisfying. Juliet is a great main character. She’s got a lot of mental strength, having been ostracized for most of her life. Her physical powers are a different story. They make her incredibly uncomfortable and her forced exploration of these powers is one of the main points of the story.

Also central: a boy. Isn’t there always a boy? In this case, he’s a strapping young soldier. His relationship with Juliet is more layered and meaningful than you might expect from their initial meeting and I thought it was very sweet.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of this book is the world building. Shatter Me takes place in a world where we’ve killed our planet and now have to face the consequences. One of the consequences is The Reestablishment, a militant group claiming to restore order. Of course, it wouldn’t be a very good book if everyone was honest and Juliet quickly discovers the less-than-charitable motivations of the group.

The end of Shatter Me leaves Juliet in a very interesting position and I would very much like to know what happens to her next. Assuming the writing style remains constant, though, I think I will wait until the sequel is available at my local library, rather than purchasing it.

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