release date: November 15, 2011
hardcover, 348 pages
intended audience: Young adult
series: Shatter Me, Book 1
source: ARC from publisher for review
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.
Review: Upon finishing Shatter Me, I closed the last page, sat in silence for a moment, ...then took a nap. I was so emotionally drained. This incredible debut rakes your emotions through hopelessness and fear, doubt and sadness, love and triumph, contentment and relief. When we first meet Juliette, she is in a cell, this broken forgotten thing, with only her scribblings in her notebook and her dreams of seeing birds flying to keep her sane. Until a boy is thrown in her cell, she's not sure why or what he's there for---but he seems vaguely familiar. It's the change in Juliette as the story progresses that is fascinating to watch. She is completely at war with herself in her guilt and her desires and her strange deadly powers, but she finds the strength to also be at war with anyone who would use her as a weapon. That is not who she wants to be and she sticks by that, never doubting that conviction, which I loved.
The thing that really stands out about this novel is Juliette's narrative voice. Mafi's writing style is so unique and intoxicating---the stricken-out words and repetitive prose gave this story what literally felt like a pulse, and gave us a strong feel for Juliette by letting us see all of her uncensored thoughts. At times, it felt almost like a story written in verse, with lots of metaphorical imagery giving the reader a feel for the actions and emotions taking place instead of plainly describing them. At times, I'll admit, it was a bit over the top, but for the most part, it was remarkable.
I adored the love story. My favorite romances to read are ones with passion that is built on history. The ones where the characters can say "I've loved you since the day I met you" and that statement actually means years and years instead of weeks or days. There were definitely some very swoon-worthy romantic moments in this. For someone who starts off so untouchable and innocent, Juliette definitely gets her chance to sport her "inner naughty girl".
Definitely not a debut to be missed! With all the hype surrounding this one, I'm happy to say it did not disappoint at all.
Visit Tahereh Mafi's site here!
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