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Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me
by Tahereh Mafi

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Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ebook purchase
Rating: Perfect Bed Partner
About the Book:
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.
After incessant whining and pleading, my mom finally gave in to the inevitable and gave me money to buy the Shatter Me ebook. I don't know how to put this to you, my lovely readers, in elegant terms but I've been holding in the yearning for this book since I first heard about it and have since then had to swallow my envy as more and more bloggers praised its glory. Now, finally, it's my turn, and I have to say, Shatter Me was as purely amazing as I anticipated it to be. My expectations were more than just met. Mafi's beautiful words were FedExed to my soul and my soul did a little tap-dance of extreme joy once I ripped open the package and unearthed the gift inside.

Shatter Me is the perfect blend of dystopian and paranormal, with superhero undertones. We're immediately deposited into Juliet's dark and dismal environment, surrounded by the four dank, bleak walls that make up her prison. Juliette has been forced into a dreadful isolation that has lasted almost an entire year. I don't know about you, but it would be impossible to grab a firm hold on my sanity. As I explored her character with Adam, the devastatingly gorgeous cellmate thrust into her prison alongside her, I wanted to jump up and bear hug this girl. Envelop her and murmur soothing words, rocking her like I would a child who's endured one too many cuts and bruises. Only the pain stitched into Juliette's heart is anything but skin-deep and that's why I fell for her.

Juliette is brilliantly presented to us through dreamlike, imaginative prose, and each whisper of her past makes us hunger to know the truth about her situation. The pain in the atmosphere is mesmerizing, luring us deeper into the story. Her strength is as perplexing as it is amazing and staggering. Her wariness of people is shattering, yet the kindness that shone from her has to be the most overwhelmingly magnificent part of her. Her willingness to forgive everyone who has ever clawed at her feelings and never cared, to reach out and act on her desire to help others, her compassion, is deeply moving. Adam, her cellmate and more, couldn't have been a more fitting romantic lead. A boy who's beauty reaches beyond the skin and who sees Juliette for everything she is and loves her intensely for it. A boy who shares a past with her no one would ever guess at first glance. I simply adored Adam, and couldn't get enough of the sweet heat of their blooming romantic relationship.

Mafi didn't blow my mind with just her rich characters but instead takes it a level further. She portrays the horrors of Juliette's deteriorating world with a vividness that incites, at minimum, a twinge of fear. Disgust for anyone who would deliberately spit in the face of the poverty, the deaths, circulating by living in extravagance coats the tongue and sears your insides until an unprecedented anger rises up. Juliette spits back at the wicked leader of her sector, Warner, who has no regard for the welfare of others and is terribly drunk on power, greedy for more. I couldn't even love Warner's character for being so evil, I just wanted Karma to bitch slap him and knock him on his butt.

There's so much power in the world-building, as Juliette's world slams into our feelings and causes them to tumble and overlap from dizzying pain to gaping horror. Brimming with promising characters and engrossing storytelling, people haven't been fibbing when they've said that Shatter Me is a striking debut, one that Mafi has giftwrapped and left to us to discover the breathstealing surprise inside.
Dirty money is dripping from the walls, a year's supply of food wasted on marble floors, hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical aid poured into fancy furniture and Persian rugs. I feel the artificial heat pouring in through air vents and think of children screaming for clean water. I squint through crystal chandeliers and hear mothers begging for mercy. I see a superficial world existing in the midst of a terrorizing reality and I can't move. I can't breathe. (19%)

"There's nothing wrong with me? You're kidding right?"
Adam stares at me so long I begin to blush. He tips my chin up so I meet his eyes. Blue blue blue boring into me. His voice is deep, steady. "I don't think I've ever heard you laugh before."
My smile is tucked into a straight line. "Laughter comes from living." I shrug, trying to sound indifferent. "I've never really been alive before." (58%)

17 comments:

Lux said...

'...rocking her like I would a child who's endured one too many cuts and bruises. Only the pain stitched into Juliette's heart is anything but skin-deep and that's why I fell for her.' That’s exactly how I felt. Oh gosh, I’m so happy that you loved this one!

Tahereh Mafi is an insta-buy author for me from now on. Her writing is simply spectacular.

Logan E. Turner said...

Asher, you nailed this one! I loved this for all of the same reasons, and my gosh the prose is beautiful! I'm so glad it lived up to your expectations and that you got a copy. :)

Little_Dhampir91 said...

Great review. I LOVED this book for all the same reasons you listed. Glad you enjoyed it too.

Sarah (saz101) said...

OMG! YES! YAY! I'm so SO excited you got it and loved it! I was worried before about the hype surrounding Shatter Me. Then I actually read it and oh. my. GOODNESS.

I so agree with you about the poverty and how disturbing the contrast was compared to the extravagance, and I LOVED this side of the book. Shatter Me made me think, and it was AMAZING.

Fabulous review, Asher! Loved it! xx

A. Knight said...

Lux- I totally agree with you. Anything she writes I'm definitely and instantly going to buy. Without a moment's hesitation.

Logan- I'd never read writing quite like that before. It's awe-inspiring. So happy to have read it.

Erin- Yes, it was truly remarkable in every single aspect. I couldn't get enough.

Sarah- Yeah, I'm like that too. I get nervous when too many people go crazy obsessive over it. But in this case, it was me who was all cracked up on hype so I couldn't even be worried.

EXACTLY. I kept thinking about kindness and what it means to be generous. Juliette makes me want to hang my head in shame.

Thank you <333

Thanks all for stopping by =D

Renu said...

Yes, yes, and YES. I completely agree with most of what you've said! I saw your tweet and I feel the same way about Juliette - she is def one of my fav female leads! =D

Liz. R said...

This book! So, so amazing. I absolutely loved it. Though I actually kinda-sorta-maybe liked Warner. A tiny bit. He's still evil and horrid but there's something about him that intrigues me! :P Of course, he's not in the same league as Adam. Just...ah. Great review :).

Stephanie (PoetrytoProse.com) said...

After your wait for it, it's so great to hear it exceeded your expectations. I loved Tahereh's use of words; she really managed to create a new kind of reading experience with how visual it all was. Amazing review!

FABR Steph said...

This is such a great a great book review of Shattered. I so have to snatch this off my TBR and give it a read.

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Great review! I am really looking forward to this one. It sounds awesome!

Mimi Valentine said...

This was such an amazing review, Asher!! I honestly just finished Shatter Me a week ago and felt the exact same way as you! Tahereh Mafi is a BLOW-YOUR-SOCKS-OFF author who definitely joins my favourites, and Juliette & Adam were both such sweet characters, and even sweeter together! <3

Your review makes me want to go back and read it right now so I can appreciate its brilliance again!! I love it! :)

lsl_scrapper said...

I've seen this one around a lot, and I love the cover. I'm glad you were able to give such a positive review. I'm going to be adding this one to my TBR for 2012. Thanks!

Book Sake said...

Hahhaa, I almost spit out my drink when I saw the PBP rating. That is absolutely brilliant. I've been wanting to read this book before, but now more than ever.
- Jessica @ Book Sake

elena said...

I had crazy high expectations for this book too and I was so, so relieved/glad when they were met! A lot of the praise was about Tahereh Mafi's prose and it definitely did not disappoint. I love how she writes! I really loved Juliette and Adam and everyone! I even have to disagree with you on the Warner part because I really enjoyed him, haha. I'm so so excited for the rest of the trilogies! She already finished the second book so I just want it now, haha.

Sarah@Catching Books said...

I really want to read Shatter Me! Thanks for the great review :)

A. Knight said...

Renu- Absolutely! There's just no one as purely good as her and yet still manages to come off endearing and not an irritating Miss Goody-Goody.

Liz- Never in the same league as Adam! *lol* I can see myself sort of liking Warner later on, but right now I'm firmly on he repulses me. This book was so so amazing though!

Stephanie- Yes, I'd truly never read anything written like that before. It was a different way to imagine things, which I was welcome to.

Steph- Thank you! Please do. You won't regret it.

Madigan- Thanks. It really is. You should definitely hunt this one down as soon as possible. This book makes you think.

Mimi- Reading all these comments are making me want to go back and read it. I loved everything about this book, like you. It still hasn't totally disappeared from the back of my mind.

lsl_scrapper- I love the cover too! She looks powerful. I hope you get to read this soon!

Jessica- I'm glad you like the rating. As I told you in my email, it makes rating a book so much more fun and honest. I'm sorry to heighten the desperation for this read. Hopefully you get it soon, because I know the feeling!

Elena- I would've been more angry than disappointed had this book sucked. I'm normally really wary of hype, but I hyped this one up so the feeling would've been worse. I'm so excited to see what else Mafi brings to the table!

Sarah- I know the feeling, hopefully you'll get to it soon. You're welcome =D

Brodie said...

Wow, Asher, you review? Incredible. You so give this amazing book the justice it deserves <3 Tahereh blew me away with her way of writing - the unique prose itself and her ability to craft these characters with such depth. I am SO excited to see where she takes us in the sequel given how Shatter Me ended. And oh god, more Juliette/Adam please!!