Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 15th, 2011
Source: BEA 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.  [goodreads]

I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world when I managed to get this book at BEA and meet Tahereh for a few seconds (the line I stood in had to be cut off---eight people after me! so I was definetely cutting it close).  But anyway..... Shatter Me was amazing. I'm not even sure how to categorize it since it blended aspects from different genres but it doesn't really matter. It stands all on its own because of this unique quality.

I won't deny that my favorite thing about this book was the prose. Mafi's got this incredible way of writing and some of the metaphors in this book....*shakes head* well, they're stunning. However, the writing sometimes overpowered the overall story--it was almost like Mafi lost herself in the intensity of her beautiful writing. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't love it ;) There's also this strike-out method that Mafi employed throughout the book, showing us how Juliette would think one thing, and another thought would pop up but she'd automatically stamp it out. I thought that was a brilliant way of showing how Juliette felt about her general situation because she'd start to feel some flicker of hope but she (or the situation) would squelch it.

Also, the romance in this book. HOLY CRAP. THAT BATHROOM SCENE.* Juliette and Adam's relationship was very emotionally charged, and therefore very fun to read. I've read some complaints about Juliette being too "hormonal" when it comes to Adam, but if you were to pass the first seventeen years of your life without having ANYONE** touch you and all of the sudden this person shows up who can... and happens to be this amazing guy who adores you, weeeeell... you get the idea.

Oh! And there's this intriguing villain by the name of Warner--your gut reaction is to hate him but he has this way of making you see what he wants you to see. There's a curious dynamic between him and Juliette so I'm wondering what Mafi will be doing with that in the next book. Warner's a twisted character but for some reason, you can't help but be compelled by him. He offers up some tempting possibilities.

As for the world-building in this one, there are hints of dystopian lurking throughout the pages. It's not as vivd as I would've liked but it's noticeable enough. What did strike me was how different in tone the first half was in comparison to the second--the first part was perfect. It was heady with emotion and danger but by the middle the story something turned and once it got to the ending, it wasn't quite on par with what I read during the first part. BUT. The book was still pretty damn awesome. Mafi's created some memorable characters, even with the secondary ones like Adam's younger brother and Kenji.

*Why are some of the best romantic scenes in bathrooms? The one in Andrea Cremer's Nightshade immediately leaps to mind.

**it wouldn't even have to be romantic--it could just be a pat on the back or a hug. I can't imagine going through life without having any type of physical contact.

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