by Tahereh Mafi
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.
In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.
My Thoughts: I listened to Shatter Me on audio, which might be why it was hard for me to enjoy this book. The narrator, in what I’m assuming was an attempt to capture Juliette’s character, was over the top and emotional, to the point of shrill at times. The constant crossing out of lines (which you hear but obviously don’t see since it’s audio) grated on my nerves.
You know that line in the Harry Potter movie when Hermione is explaining all the things Cho Chang felt whilst snogging Harry, and Ron says it’s not possible for one person to feel all those things at once? Well, he could have been talking about Juliette. She feels for everyone, she wants to care for everyone, save everyone, and recycle. Al Gore would probably be happy to adopt her, which would work because he doesn’t seem like the hugging type anyway.
Fortunately either the narrator calmed down, or Juliette did, because about halfway through things got a little better. I really enjoyed Warner, except Juliette’s constant “I’m nothing like you” arguments got kind of old. I’m kind of rooting for Warner, not to win Juliette from Adam, but just to turn her to the dark side. Darth Vader Juliet would be much more interesting. We get a lot of anti-heros in YA fiction, but we’re thin on the ground with anti-heroines.
So, plot wise, Juliette is locked up because her touch kills. She spends her days and nights in her cell alone, and I kept picturing the video for Melissa Etheridge’s Come to My Window when the actress Juliette Lewis is going crazy, drawing on the walls and, like Shatter Me‘s Juliette, scribbling and crossing out, scribbling and crossing out,
scribbling and crossing out. See, I can do it too!
Anyways hottie Adam shows up, and Juliette is all crossing out over him. Turns out he’s from her past, and why he’s drawn to her is just as mysterious to me as it is to Juliette. Yeah, I get it, she’s extremely unselfish and bent over backwards to help the same school mates who shunned her. But honestly, I just felt that all of those instances of unselfishness (she misses a field trip to let some other snotty girl go, she claims to be cheating on a test in order to save yet another classmate even though her parents punish her severely, etc) just made Juliette seem a bit pathetic. Holding doors open for people, that’s a nice gesture, taking a beating for a class mate that would just as soon spit on you is over the top disturbing. But once more it show’s how caring Juliette is!
I know I’ve made it sound like I hated the book, but I did think it had it’s interesting points. I was intrigued by Warner, and adored Adam and his little brother. The ending went places I wasn’t expecting, and I found it quite compelling. I don’t think I’ll continue with the series just because I really don’t like Juliette. I can guarantee I won’t listen to the next book in the series on audio (seriously the narration reminds me too much of my own drama club rehearsals back in high school).
A lot of the writing was truly beautiful, it was just too much. And Juliette never just walks across a room, she is flung, she is propelled, she is shot out of a cannon by a demented circus monkey on a long journey to revenge across the room. She doesn’t just love Adam, she is shattered by him, she is thrust into the heat of a thousand burning suns at the mere thought of his touch, she is broken and then pieced together with drippy hot love glue. Did I mention that the word shatter is way overused?
There is a certain amount of hotness in the fact that Juliette’s touch kills but she can touch Adam and their smexy scenes were pretty intense. The author (and the characters) don’t go too far, but at least there is chemistry between Adam and Juliette.
Lots of people/bloggers love Shatter Me, but if you’re looking for the next Hunger Games, I can’t recommend this book. It does have a touch of X-Men in it though, so it might interest you super power lovers out there.
Shatter Me gets a Midnight Book Rating of:
The cover gets a Midnight Book Cover Rating of:
It’s an okay cover, but in the world of amazing YA covers this one just doesn’t stand out to me. I do give it props for being mostly white, which is a nice change from a lot of the others out there.