Saturday, November 12, 2011

ARC Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me
Tahereh Mafi
Young Adult/Dystopian
Harper Teen/November 15, 2011

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.

Lots of buzz about this book. The film rights have already been optioned before the book even hits the shelves. Does it live up to all the buzz? Well, it wasn't earth shattering or ground breaking or any of those other clich├ęs we hear. But it did hold my curiosity enough to keep my attention to the end.

Juliette has an ability she considers a curse. It has caused her to be alienated from society. No one wants to be near her. Everyone fears what she might do. Eventually tragedy occurs and sends Juliette away and locked up. She is kept isolated from the outside world which is falling apart fast. Then change happens and nothing is the same for Juliette. The plot starts out interesting but doesn't seem to go anywhere for what felt like a long time. I kept waiting for something to happen because it felt like something was going to happen at any moment. Like in a horror movie when you just know something is waiting right around the corner, the actor turns the corner and there's nothing there? Finally, the pace picked up and it felt like the plot was going somewhere.

While I'm not a fan of info dumping, I would have liked more information about the causes of this dystopian world. What we are told is given out in bits and pieces but left me feeling as if I didn't have the full picture of life in this new world. Since this is told from Juliette's POV, we only know what she knows and what the other characters tell us. But the timeline made it seem the catastrophes occurring across the globe happened very quickly. I found it hard to make sense of the timeline.

Juliette is a girl who had a most unconventional childhood but there was this one boy who caught her interest. Otherwise, she had no friends and kept to herself. At this point in her life she is understandably closed off from people and trusts no one. As Juliette's world begins to change I liked seeing how she wanted so desperately to trust but her self-preservation is still very strong. She struggles with trusting even when everything indicates she should.

As the action picks up, Juliette begins to come out of her shell, letting her feelings known and realizing that she is someone important and she can make a difference. She has been through hell and still has a way to go before she can breath easily, at least for a little while.

The writing style took some getting use to as the author implemented the strike through technique to demonstrate what Juliette is truly thinking or wishes to say but doesn't dare. Juliette might say, "I'm not afraid," followed by I am terrified. Mafi also used repetition to convey Juliette's thoughts. So it might look something like ~ "I'm not afraid," I am terrified I am terrified I am so terrified. The problem I had, especially with the strike through technique, is needing to slow down in reading in order to read through the strike through, causing the flow to stutter and slow. For some readers this might not be a problem but for myself, the affect was lost the more it was used.

There are a couple of surprises but also a number of similarities to the X-Men series. The main problem was the lack of any deeper feelings for the characters. I felt curiosity but not concern for Juliette and the others caught in this horrific world.

Rating: B-


  1. On the one hand the storyline sounds interesting, on the other it sounds really quite familiar. I just saw a movie (I already forgot the name), with a similar plot and young adults as protagonists. It was fun to watch, but it has been done before quite a few times already.

  2. I think it got optioned just because right now, dystopian books are hot. From what I read from the review, there's nothing really special about the book/series so far.

  3. Hils ~ It's very similar to other YA dystopian out there. Not sure if I'll read the next one. I'll wait for the reviews.

    Nath ~ Yep - YA is where it's at now. Kind of like PNR was a few years ago.