Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (November 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062085484
ISBN-13: 978-0062085481
Series: Shatter Me #1
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Cover: I think I might be alone here but I'm iffy about this one and I'm not really sure why. I just don't connect to it. That being said, when I received this novel in the mail and it was all shiny and reflective, I feel in love. So on the internet, it's so-so and in person, it wows!
First Sentence: I've been locked up for 264 days.

Mini-ReviewShatter Me is an eye-opening debut novel stuffed to the last page with gorgeous writing, ardent romance and danger.


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 asThe 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.


There are some novels that remind you how seemingly normal things in life can be the most beautiful and sacred of things to someone that doesn't know them. Shatter Me takes this idea of the simplicity of touch and weaves it into an additively passionate and eye-opening debut novel stuffed to the last page with gorgeous writing, ardent romance and danger. There are a handful of novels that leave me breathless and even fewer that make me want to be a better writer. Shatter Me cracked both of those categories effortlessly.

Juliette isn't a character you meet everyday. I've met my fair share of broken narrators and as an audience we are being introduced to unreliable narrators more often, but Juliette is so broken, she can't even think in full sentences. She's so broken, she lies to herself. Meeting her in the beginning of the novel is literally like ripping your heart out and handing it to a character. You want to lend her your strength so she can piece back together her world and mend over all the rough stuff. And the best thing about her is that she wants to. At times she refuses to fight, to lift a finger to hurt another soul. At others, she is willing to drop anyone and put everything on the line for what she believes in. To have such an equal balance and for Juliette to feel so right while doing is, is such a tricky line to walk. But Shatter Me succeeds a million times over.

Juliette's male counterpart is every bit as interesting and alluring as she is. They are an equal and strong pairing. From the moment Adam enters the picture, I want to know more about him. I want the author to tell me why I should like him even though by all other counts I shouldn't. Their budding romance is shaped and molded by their own hands like clay. It starts out rough but as they learn to work together and to trust it turns into something beautiful. Of course, this form can't finalize unless it goes through an oven and let me assure you, Adam and Juliette's romance is equally as steamy. There were scene in here that could make a grown woman blush (and they did make this grown woman blush) but it was because of their deep appreciation of each other that I wanted to keep reading (fine, the steamy bits had a little bit to do with tearing through the pages too).

I have a feeling people are going to have some problems with the state of the world of Shatter Me because it isn't really explained in this book. We are told about the state of the world but not really about how it got that way. For me, this isn't really a problem because I saw that that is where the next novel would be going but I wouldn't be surprised if I hear complaints about this. For me, the character relationships forged in this novel were far more important than the state of the world but I do expect that as Juliette learns more about the world she's been trapped away from, answers will surface.

The pacing of Shatter Me was excellent. I don't mention pacing a lot even though it's a tricky thing do. What I loved though was that every time I would question where the story would be going, something big would happen that would change the playing field, thus making the plot move along. The prose style with the missing commas and the crossed out lines and repeated thoughts is an amazing way to show the reader Juliette's broken mind. What I really enjoyed about the book is that as the story went on, more and more of these things started disappearing because Juliette and Adam were working to put her back together. This book was one long line I wanted to memorize. If I could see the world for one day as Mafi must see it every single day, I'd be a lucky girl. Every sentence had something unique and beautiful to offer.

I'm not sure if your getting my intense love for this novel yet. You should feel it wafting in between every sentence of this review. Shatter Me doesn't read like a debut novel because it feels like an author very well advanced in their career. Bubbling over with swoon-worthy romance, gunslinging action, and prose so pretty it'll make your tooth ache, Shatter Me is an intensely beautiful read. It'll leave you breathless and definitely just made it to my top 5 favorite novels this year. Got plans? Drop them for Shatter Me. You'll thank me later!



  1. Wonderful review on Shatter Me. Glad to see that you enjoyed it, too!

    -Wendy from A Cupcake and a Latte: YA Reviews

  2. Great review. I'm dying to read this book-- I've read a ton of reviews for it and they are all raving. Juliette sounds like such an interesting character!

  3. Great review for an awesome book. I loved it as well. I was engrossed in this novel!
    Joy @ Book Lagniappe

  4. Ohhhh....I loved LOVED this book. The strike out method was done perfectly! And Adam...I was thinking about him months later. Warner is one my radar....;)

  5. I totally agree about the cover in that it doesn't translate well on screen. Juliette sounds like a character that leaves a lasting impression. Sometimes world building can be overwrought with detail, so I don't think I'd mind not knowing all of the background and possibly finding out about more in future books. I love a good paced book. I've been wanting to read this for quite some time, but now I want to just drop what I'm reading and go to a bookstore and pick it up!

  6. It's good to know that this one is all about character building...I like to know that going in so that I don't feel ripped off. As long as more world-building is coming in future books, I'm totally cool with focusing on the characters to begin with.

    I'll be starting soon & can't wait!

  7. Great review! I'm glad you mentioned pacing, since that's one of those things that tends to really draw me in or turn me off, and it sounds like this one got it just right. Juliette sounds a little like Rogue in X-Men. Or maybe that's just because I'm a big nerd and everything reminds me a little of X-Men. Either way, I can't wait to read this one!

  8. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and completely agree with the pace comment you made. I felt the story flow perfectly! :D

  9. I LOVED this book so much!!! Juliette's life has been so full of paine, it just breaks my heart. oh and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the ending!!!

  10. I loved this book too! This is really something, I agree!

  11. I love the idea that Juliette's brokenness is reflected in the writing with the strike-throughs. Very compelling.

    And it's great you loved both characters, and that their romance was slowly shaped.

  12. I love how Juliette's brokenness is shown through the strike-throughs in the narration - that's a great way of really seeing her thought processes.

    It's wonderful that the romance with Adam develops slowly and they have to work at it:)

  13. I haven't read this one yet, but it's high up on my TBR list. It sounds so interesting & the cover is gorgeous!

  14. That review made me all the more excited to read it. I love broken or unreliable narrators, so this sounds right up my alley.

  15. This sounds so fascinating. I hope I love it as much as you did. There are a couple things I traditionally don't like in books (broken sentences, not much about the world), but if it's well done, as I hope it is, she'll sell it!

  16. I stayed up all night long to read this book and read it in one sitting. Then finished it, got a shower, and drove two hours for a family lunch. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.

    I'm always amazed by how many people seem to love Warner, but I just think he was totally creepy. I can't help but love Adam. Adam and Juliette. They are perfectly written in this book. And Juliette, she IS broken and yet the writing captures that perfectly. The style Mafi uses is PERFECT for Juliette's emotional wellbeing.

    This book was just amazing and I can't wait for the next book. I know I want to re-read it before book two comes out.

  17. Your review for this has me Jonesin' to read this!!!

  18. I've wanted to read this book since she announced it on her blog, and your review just confirmed it!

  19. This book has been on my TBR list forever now and reading your review, it seems I should go grab it right now and start reading. I love the way that Adam and Juliettes relationship sounds. It sounds very intriguing and interesting and I cannot wait til I finally read it! Thanks for the great review!

  20. This book is one of my favorites! The writing was so breathtaking. I think I might have blushed a few times too. LOL Great review!! :)

  21. Awesome review! I love books with a good love story :)


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