I just recently finished Shatter Me, the acclaimed YA novel by Tahereh Mafi. Honestly, I bought this book because I saw so much about it on Tumblr that I decided I needed to read it for myself. Here is the description from Goodreads:
I have a curse
I have a gift
I am a monster
I’m more than human
My touch is lethal
My touch is power
I am their weapon
I will fight back
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 terms of actual writing, this book is one of the most powerfully written books I’ve ever read! You can see above the author’s strategy of crossing out Juliette’s real thoughts in such a way that we can see both who she really is and how she presents herself. The sentences are gorgeous, like this one:
“Raindrops are my only reminder that clouds have a heartbeat. That I have one, too.”
As far as characterization and plot go, my feelings are mixed. On the one hand, Juliette is a great strong character. But few of the other characters are sufficiently developed. I felt like I never really understood Adam well or Warner. I recognize that this is a trilogy that needs to be read in full, but I think the first book should set up some primary motivators, and I felt like those are unclear in the case of all the major characters. I also felt like the book should have ended a few chapters before it did, because though I enjoyed the beginnings of the plot immensely, it takes a drastic turn near the end of the novel that fulfilled me a little too much and left me with little desire to read the sequel, though I’m sure I will at some point.
3 out of 5 stars
I would recommend this to anyone looking for beautiful words, but caution them about the overly fulfilling ending.