Book Reviews · Original Posts

Book Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me

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.


6 thoughts on “Book Review: Shatter Me

  1. If you aren’t sure about continuing this series, I would definitely read the novella from Warner’s point of view (Destroy Me). I was totally against continuing this but had accidentally purchased the novella on kindle, and it completely changed my mind. If you like her writing style, I say stick with it, because everything else gets a lot better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the candid review, Katherine. I used to read so many YA novels, less now but one reason is that several I’ve read rather recently – and many best-selling novels in general – seem so formulaic and predictable, plus I always Hope for exquisite writing. Apparently I wish for way too much : )
    I am wondering: when you say you felt too fulfilled, do you mean you wish for more suspense and more loose ends left dangling? Or do you feel overall bored by the time you reach the end with no desire to read more of these characters, especially as the character development was lacking? Or maybe both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, so this is very hard to explain without spoiling the end, but here I go! The pace of the book is very frantic for the first three-fourths or so. But then, A THING happens, and the pace of the novel slows down to, like, glacial. I also felt that Juliette changed a lot inexplicably near the end. Both of these observations may have more to do with the fact that I read the first three-quarters in one sitting on New Year’s Day, then picked it back up yesterday when I had time in my life again, but I’m just not as jazzed to read the next one because of the suddenness of the pace change, which really lessened my excitement overall. I would definitely recommend it, though, because the language is so beautiful, particularly in the beginning of the novel.


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