Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Published: 15th November 2011
Summary: No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but the The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering the strength to fight back for the very first time – and to find a future with the one boy she though she’d lost forever.
I’ve heard a lot about this book. It’s the first in a series surrounded by lots of hype and it’s difficult going into a series with so many expectations. I’d love to say this book lived up to all the praise and attention but, for me, it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book but by no means was it perfect.
Our main lead, Juliette, is a 17 year old girl who is able to kill people with a single touch. As a result of this ability, she’s locked up in a mental asylum to prevent her from hurting anyone. Juliette’s power causes her to have a difficult and traumatic upbringing and in the beginning Tahereh Mafi did a great job at portraying her internal struggles. However, as the book progresses, she becomes annoying and stubborn. She starts to act childish and does things that don’t benefit anyone, including herself. Another issue I have is that a lot of her problems were solved as soon as a boy comes onto the scene. The love and attention she receives from a guy suddenly fixes the emotional traumas she’s suffered most of her life which I found unrealistic.
There are two main males in this book: Adam, the good guy and Warner, the bad guy. Of course, both of these guys are determined to be with Juliette. Adam is a caring guy who cares about Juliette’s well-being whereas Warner is determined to win the her favour with aggression and pampering. But both of these characters are obsessed with this girl who they barely know. For Adam at least, this scrapes by as being romantic but for Warner it’s just downright creepy. His fasciantion makes him come across as stalker-ish and it’s obvious his advances make Juliette feel comfortable, yet that doesn’t stop him.
It’s always hard to judge the world in a dystopian novel from the first book as often more information is revealed as the series progresses. But from the first book in this series, it’s unclear as to how society disintegrated. Our characters find themselves in a setting gripped by famine, war and dwindling resources. However with so much focus on the relationships in this book, there’s little time to delve deeper into the world featured in this story. This novel’s primary focus is the romance. Even though I expected there to be a focus on the relationships in this story, it would have been nice to have a bit more depth to this book.
Tahereh Mafi’s writing is a hit or miss, you’ll either love it or hate it. It’s lyrical and full of metaphors and I thought it was appropriate for portraying Juliette’s chaotic and disjointed thoughts, especially at the beginning of the novel. Unfortunately, on occasion it was too much. It transformed into rambling and became confusing, distracting me from the story. It did provide an individual feel to an otherwise typical YA novel.
Shatter Me is full of stereotypes but the writing provides a unique twist, setting the story apart from other young adult book. It’s a short book so I definitely recommend it if you like quick reads. But if you’re not a fan of flowery, over the top writing and love triangles you’re probably best to stay away from this one.