Monday, November 21, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

* * * *

“YOU CAN’T TOUCH ME, “ I whisper,
Is what I don’t tell him.
Is what I’ll never tell him.
Is what I want to tell him.

But things happen
When people touch me.
Strange things.
Bad things.

No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Restablishment 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 a strength to fight back for the very first time – and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.

I couldn’t believe my luck that I was the first one to snag a copy of Shatter Me from my library!  I literally pushed aside all the other books on my list to read this one.  

Juliette Ferrars has been locked away for 3 years because of a crime she unwittingly committed.  In that time, she has counted and recounted every detail that surrounds her – the minutes, hours, days gone by, the walls. She associates everything with numbers. And that’s how she has survived until she is stuck with a cellmate. After years of solitary confinement, sharing a cell with a complete stranger startles her senses and awakens her from her numbness. And it's quite awkward for her because her new cellmate is a boy, Adam Kent, someone she remembers from her past.  It's remarkable to watch her go through her inner struggle of wanting to interact with someone and also withdraw into her own shell where she feels most protected. You realize how fragile she can be and thankfully Adam is exceptionally kind and gives her the space to breathe.

The third character in the book is Warner, a brutal dictator-in-training, who has “daddy issues”.  Think of a nineteen year-old demon spawn son of any recently fallen dictator and that’s what you have here – a kid looking for acceptance and power by preying on everyone’s fear. Juliette is his key to absolute power and he’s seriously disturbed.  Any time he’s close to Juliette is cringe-worthy. He confuses his blood lust for power with that of love. While Juliette is repulsed by his deranged mind, she also finds herself strangely fascinated by him. He tries to convince her that they are one and the same  gifted people unwanted by others. Juliette though doesn't want to be a monster even if the whole world has turned its back on her. She is at a crossroads between embracing her touch as a gift or as a curse and she has to decide soon because she could be the linchpin in the pending rebellion.   

One of the things I love most about Shatter Me is that Mafi has given Juliette a distinctive voice. Her rhythmic and hypnotic tones are mesmerizing and through her words I could see and feel all the jumbled thoughts dancing around Juliette’s mind. It gets more intriguing when she starts to experience heightened awareness of things around her. And the descriptions of her intimate moments with Adam are so poetic at times. Adam is definitely her hero who has his own complicated past but hopes for a bright future. He provides Juliette the reassurance and sense of security she needs. Together they have a very passionate connection that it's like watching fireworks go off.

I highly recommend Shatter Me. It's heavy emphasis on the beauty and urgency of physical contact is filled with plenty of anticipation and emotion. The action is quite intense and on par with the Hunger Games or the Maze Runner. But what sets it apart from the others is Tahereh Mafi's beautiful prose that plants Shatter Me in another sphere entirely.

~  Bel


  1. Wonderful review! I agree! Shatter Me was such an amazing read. Warner was certainly an effective villain, absolutely deranged! Loved it!

  2. I want to read this book sooo bad. It sounds simply so good. Can't wait to finally get my hands on this book!