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A Review of SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Have you ever wanted a book so much you'd be willing to elbow a grandma for it? Well, that's what I was prepared to do at BEA last week for a copy of SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi. I thought I might have to, seeing how this book has had so much excitement building around it - including, but not limited to, a rockin' movie deal!

Instead of participating in a cage match at BEA, I ended up receiving a copy from the lovely folks at the HarperCollins booth. (The line for the author's signing was so long and epic, the YAH girls and I got sent away to where there were still copies available!) Although I didn't get to say hi to the author (sadness), I did achieve victory in the form of an acquired Shatter Me.

And I ended up reading the whole thing in a single session. So did it live up to the hype? First, let's hear exactly what the book is about!

THE STORY
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.
THE VERDICT

Simply put, Shatter Me ain't your grandma's dystopian tale. (Sorry, sorry, I'll stop bringing people's grandmas into this now.) Obviously we have some paranormal thrown into the mix here, but Shatter Me is much more than the sum of its genres. At the end of the three/four hours it took me to devour it, I felt totally exhilarated. This is definitely a dark book, set in a dark world that might make you feel a little dark about the potential future of humanity. But at the core of Shatter Me is an awesome sense of hope - and an amazing emphasis on the ultimate importance of love.

When we first meet Juliette, we're super immersed in the cold, weary hopelessness that dominates her inner world - as well as her outer world, which is a gray and horrifying prison cell. The author is adept at illustrating Juliette's feelings in a gripping way. Juliette's teenage voice sounds real, and is made even more engaging by the author's use of gorgeous poetic terms and free-form prose.

By the middle of the book, Juliette must come face-to-face with the consequences of her power, and the story really heats up (and speeds up). Heat is probably an appropriate word here, as Juliette experiences romance for the first time while in the grip of her captors. Let's just say Adam, the intriguing love interest, is a heartthrob - and those overly happy squeaking noises you heard during certain scenes were so not coming from me (I swear!).

Between the actions of the people who want to take control of Juliette's life, and Adam's large role in making things happen for Juliette, I have to admit I sometimes wished Juliette had had more agency in her own story. She mentions herself a few times that she feels helpless against the events going on around her. Still, this helplessness does seem inherent to the story, and it makes sense considering Juliette's circumstances. At the (ahhhh! action-filled! WHOAZA!) end of the book, it's clear that Juliette is going to have a lot more power over her life in the sequel - which I am SO PUMPED FOR omgyouhavenoidea!!

Overall, I'd say that for me, Shatter Me definitely lived up to the hype. And it is, for sure, a book worth elbowing almost twenty grandmas for! Pick it up as soon as you can - or enter to win it in YAH's anniversary giveaway!

P.S. Here's even more excitement in the form of a book trailer:

Emilia Plater

Emilia is a YA author who avoids studying, food that isn't covered in cheese, and waking up before 10:30AM whenever possible. A bundle of confusions.

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11 comments:

  1. Sounds excellent! I hadn't heard much about it yet, so thanks for sharing, and lucky you for snagging a copy!

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  2. Oooh that sounds excellent! I haven't heard much about it yet and I literally just got goosebumps watching the trailer.

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  3. Ah. I want to read this. SO. BAD! Great review!!

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  4. Great review! Like everyone else, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to read this. I can't wait!

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  5. Is it silly to want to read this purely because the heroine shares my rather unusual name (spelling and all)?!

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  6. Bad Emilia for elbowing grannies :O
    Heh. Awesome review, girl. I can't wait to read SHATTER ME.

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  7. Juliette- Not weird at all! :D I'd totally read a book starring an Emilia on the basis of the name, hehe.

    Thanks for the positive comments guys!! <3 <3

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  8. Excellent review. I am so exciterd for Taherah. I love her blog.

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  9. I'm pretty sure I only elbowed 19 grandmas when we were attempting to get ARCs of this. Maybe I should elbow another just for good measure ;)

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Item Reviewed: A Review of SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Emilia Plater