Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Release date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 342
Format: Advance Reader's Copy
Source: Page & Palette Bookstore
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
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. 
Oh my goodness, I have no idea where to start with this book y'all. Shatter Me is written in a way that makes me want to literally climb into the pages and lounge about in them. I don't really know what climbing into the pages would accomplish, but it'd make me feel better somehow. I've waited a little while to write this review because my brain's only output after finishing translated into something like, "Pfft.dklas;kljdf.zxvkldfkl;jweiorjzx,.m." For real. I'm sorry if this review ends up in the gutter because I'm too busy swooning/freaking.

First and foremost I absolutely have to talk about how Juliette's narration is written. It is utterly fabulous. It does take a little bit of getting used to, but once you know what's going on, you'll die it works so well. Here's an example (taken from an ARC, but once I have a finished copy I'll update this if it is different from the final text):
6,336 hours since I've touched another human being. 
"You're getting a cellmate roommate," they said to me.
"We hope you rot to death in this place For good behavior," they said to me.
"Another psycho just like you No more isolation," they said to me.
I love love love the strikeouts. It gives a sense of what's going unsaid, which is sometimes hard to imagine in a story not of your own creation. We see that Juliette sees through all of the bull given to her, too. BUT, the strikeouts aren't the only quirky bit of writing. At times Juliette's narration is more like a stream of consciousness than a traditional narration. The way Tahereh Mafi has written certain scenes makes the reader feel exactly what Juliette is feeling at these times. When Juliette is having a panic attack, I felt like I was having one too. When she was running for her life, with only getting to safety on her mind, that's all I could think of. At these times there's little to no punctuation, which only accentuates the urgency of how Juliette is feeling. This style may not be for everyone, but I couldn't get enough of it. Reading should be a visceral experience, don't you think?

When we first meet Juliette, she is a jumbled mess of emotions and fear. As she gets to know Adam and as we get to know her, she comes out of her shell, and we see what a strong, fearless, and engaging heroine she is. We hear how she grew up with parents who never touched her, how she was shunned in school, and learn exactly how she came to be in isolation. Juliette's story is one of sadness and loneliness, but as the story goes on, it becomes one of hope and love.

And, ohhhhh, Adam. What an utterly perfect guy. I just couldn't get enough of him, and the more we learned about him, the more I loved him. One moment he'd break my heart with sadness and the next he'd have me smiling like the biggest idiot in the world. Adam's opposite in most every way is Warner. He's presented as a villain who only wants Juliette for the power she can give him, but at the same time we get the idea that there's a lot more to him. And I can't help but want to know! It doesn't hurt that he's completely gorgeous, charming in a sly way, and has a wounded soul thing going for him. :)

On my little list of wonderful things I have yet to cover and don't want to bore you with my gushing:
  • James, who is sweet and vulnerable, and just makes me want to hug him at all times
  • Kenji, who I'm thinking we'll see a good deal more of, which doesn't bother me in the least :)
  • THAT ENDING. It was totally perfect and totally cruel, and now I just need to know what happens next!!
Tahereh Mafi's style is riveting, different, and utterly engaging. It's hard not to immediately be absorbed into Juliette's world and even harder to extricate yourself. There is probably no way I could recommend that you read Shatter Me more.

Risk a paper cut? There is nothing that could deter me from shoving this book into the hands of every person I meet and telling them to suck it up if it cuts them. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVED IT. :)

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