by Tahereh Mafi
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
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.
Above is my video review for Shatter Me if you so choose to watch it! The written review is basically the same thing but I thought I'd do a video review for fun. If you watch it be sure to tell me what you think!
I know I'm a little late to be jumping on the Shatter Me bandwagon. I'm pretty sure most everyone else in the blogosphere has already read and blogged about this book but oh wells. Better late than never right?
There was SO much hype behind this book. So much. When a book is that hyped I always get a little scared once I actually crack it open. I never know if the hype is gonna work in the books favor or if its gonna make the book fizzle and die. In Shatter Me's case well, it wasn't really either. I'm on the fence about Shatter Me. I didn't love it, but I didn't dislike it either. Honestly I feel a little indifferent to it.
When Shatter Me begins all we know is that Juliette has been incarcerated for 264 days. She hasn't seen anybody, she hasn't talked to anybody, and she certainly hasn't touched anybody. Then suddenly a random (but yet not so random?) boy named Adam is thrust into her cell and Juliette's world is turned upside down forever.
For starters Tahereh Mafi's writing is absolutely gorgeous. The prose and imagery of Shatter Me just blew me away. The thing is Tahereh doesn't use her imagery to paint a picture of the world Juliette is living in. This was one of the big things that didn't work for me: The world building or lack thereof. With dystopian novels a lot of the weight of the story rests upon the crazy futuristic world the character's are living in and in Shatter Me that world just wasn't there. It was never explained why the world was preparing for war (at least I think that's what was happening? Maybe I missed something...) and why there was so much poverty. I understand that the story was getting told from Juliette's POV and she had been locked up for almost a year but seriously not THAT much changes in less than a year. The whole time I had a really hard time picturing the setting and so it was like the character's were walking around on a blank canvas.
This brings me to the characters. This was one of the strengths of the novel. Juliette was an extremely fascinating character. Throughout the entire story she's sort of walking the line between sanity and insanity. I also really liked seeing the struggle Juliette had within herself as she came to grips with the fact that even though she had a lethal touch it didn't make her an evil person. Now Warner on the other hand HE was evil. Talk about major creep tingles! The funniest thing about Warner is for some reason even though I do recall Juliette saying he only looked a few years older than Adam I kept imagining him as some creepy middle aged man until the part in the book when he said he was 19. Yep, that pretty much sums up the nastiness of Warner: He's a middle aged man creeper in a teenagers body. >.< As for Adam, well I wasn't much of a fan. PLEASE DON'T KILL ME! I know most people found his love for Juliette endearing and all but honestly I didn't understand it. He had never even spoken to her before they were locked up together and yet we are meant to believe he's been in love with her since 3rd grade? Yeah, I'm sorry that just doesn't work for me. It's like Peeta Mellark all over again. And you guys know I'm not a big fan of Peeta... Now there was one character in Shatter Me that I absolutely loved and that was Kenji. As soon as he showed up the book doubled in awesomeness. Literally. I told my mom:
"Mom, this awesome character just showed up in the book I'm reading. He's an obnoxious douchey guy but he's SO FUNNY."
Yeah she was confused too. There's just something about his complete lack of tact that I enjoyed and found positively hilarious. Not only that but he's also Japanese which means his coolness level is immediately through the roof. Actually the whole coolness level of the book basically doubled once I found out Kenji was Japanese. I gave it a whole bump up in rating merely because Kenji is Asian. No joke. :P
As for the plot of Shatter Me overall I found it fairly compelling but I thought it was a bit bogged down with the romance. Oh gosh I know everyone else loved the "steamy" romance between Juliette and Adam and they had to "fan themselves from the hotness" and all that but for me it was just too much. Honestly it felt awkward reading most of the scenes between the two of them. Like talk about too much too soon. I realize Juliette that you've never been touched before or whatever but gosh.... tone it down girl! I especially liked it when their physical attraction was getting in the way of their common sense. For example:
And I know I shouldn't. I know now isn't the time. I know it's impractical. But I kiss him anyway."
Just a little background on this particular scene: Juliette and Adam are inside a slaughterhouse running from soldiers out to torture them/get their blood and yet ALL JULIETTE CAN THINK ABOUT IS KISSING ADAM. GOSH GIRL YOU ARE RUNNING FOR YOUR LIFE AND YET YOU "KISS HIM ANYWAY"?!?!?! *bangs head into wall repeatedly* When romance rules over common sense that's when you lose me. The good thing about the romance is it did lead to some great comic relief from Kenji. Like this gem:
"I will not use this word often, Kent but please don't try any fancy secret-sneaking-away shit. We have to regulate things around here for a reason. It's the only way to survive. So do everyone a favor and keep your pants on. You'll see her in the morning."
Ohhhh Kenji. Always keeping it real. Notice how HE values survival over sexytimez? Yep, that's the way it should be folks!
Life > Sex
So aside from Juliette and Adam's over active sexytimez I actually did quite like the plot. It moved along swiftly and at the end it started channeling a sort of X-Men vibe which was unexpected but cool.
Overall Shatter Me was a solid book but it just didn't appeal to me as much as I would have hoped. With dystopian novels I really like them to make me think and question the world I live in and what I stand for but with Shatter Me there was none of that. However it was a great thrill ride and even though the physical romance was a little too explicit for my tastes it did make for a good laugh in certain situations. All I can say is I'll definitely be reading the sequels and I'm excited to see where Tahereh Mafi goes with the rest of the story!
I give Shatter Me 4 out of 5 ice cream cones.
If you want to win a SIGNED copy of Shatter Me and some other fun signed swag head on over to this post and you can enter! :D