338 pp. Harper (HarperCollins) 2011
Source: Finished copy received at NCTE
Interest: 2011 Debut Author
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.
Tahereh Mafi has written a wonderful debut that will appeal to fans of paranormal fantasy, dystopian, and romance. Her lyrical writing stands out and breaks the rules, but it works and drew me in.
There’s so much I love about Tahereh Mafi’s writing. First of all, I’m completely intrigued by her use of numbers. Not only does she incorporate specific numbers like Juliette going 6,336 hours since touching another person, she also almost always uses the numeric value instead of writing the number(s) out. I haven’t been able to find any interviews where she explains this, so if you know of any explanation I’d love to know about it. I enjoyed how Juliette crosses out some of her thoughts. Some readers may not enjoy this, but as Juliette grows more confident in herself, she does this less and less. Mafi takes many liberties in her writing. Many of her sentences lack punctuation, but it works because it adds more emphasis to Juliette’s words.
For readers that enjoy a steamy romance, Shatter Me is definitely for them! There’s crazy tension between Juliette and Adam. Much of this tension comes from Juliette’s strong desire to touch Adam while also being in fear of him and the possibility of touching him. Part of Juliette’s power makes it dangerous to touch her, which often left me thinking of Rogue from X-Men (one of my favorite X-Men characters). At times I questioned Adam’s intentions, especially since there’s this instant love or attraction between the two of them. Eventually I was able to look past any doubts in their instant attraction and enjoyed the tension between the characters. I do have to admit that Adam won me over.
I enjoyed Shatter Me as a dystopian, even with the paranormal elements, but I was disappointed by the stronger focus on the romance over the world building. The summary is a little misleading because it’s focusing on her power and confusion over the romance, yet so much of Juliette’s focus is on Adam and Warner’s obsession with her. This may turn off some readers looking for a plot with lots of action and dystopian elements. Those elements are there, but they aren’t as prevalent until closer to the end of the story. We also only get snippets of Juliette’s abilities which I hope become more of a focus in the second and third books. I see a lot of potential for this trilogy in all aspects of the story. I just hope the rest of the trilogy explains more about The Reestablishment and Juliette’s powers.