Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Published: November 2011 (Harper/HarperCollins)
Rating: 4.5/5
Summary: "You can't touch me," I whisper. He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him. Please touch me, is what I want to tell him. But things happen when people touch me. Strange things. Bad things. Dead things.

No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment 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.

My Review: I really did not want to start another incomplete series right now. I saw this book at Barnes & Noble the other day and was completely intrigued. I came home, looked it up, added it to my Goodreads to-read list, and let it go for the moment. Then, completely unexpectedly, I saw it on the library shelf two days ago. I picked it up last night after I finished my other book, read the first two pages, and promptly stopped because I knew I needed to go to bed and that I wouldn't for another few hours if I read any further. I then proceeded to wake up this morning and begin reading it immediately. I was completely hooked! I took a short break for lunch with friends, then came back and finished it. It was such a great read! My heart broke for Juliette a thousand times, and I held my breath and nearly cried and even laughed. I rooted for her again and again. I was enthralled in the story, and I never wanted it to end. Unfortunately, it did (thankfully, not in a cliffhanger-that-makes-me-want-to-kill-something way), and now I will be waiting on the edge of my seat for the sequel. Now, let the gushing commence!

My absolutely-no-contest favorite thing about Shatter Me was the writing. I am left without adequate words when trying to describe it. It was so unique, so fresh, so lyrical and bold and stunningly, flawlessly gorgeous. I am a huge sucker for great writing, and Shatter Me had it in spades. I always write down quotes from books, but I was almost at a loss for this one. There were a few that stood out as good quotes to keep for the future. But as an example of just how amazing the writing was? I would not even know where to start. Here are two of my favorites:

I spent my life folded between the pages of books.

In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.

This is one segment that struck me as I was flipping back through (it is only from page 8, so no worries about spoilers):

His hand.

On me.

2 tips

of 2 fingers graze my cloth-covered shoulder for less than a second and every muscle every tendon in my body is fraught with tension and tied into knots that clench my spine. I stay very still. I don't move. I don't breathe. Maybe if I don't move, this feeling will last forever.

No on has touched me in 264 days.

Sometimes I think the loneliness inside of me is going to explode through my skin and sometimes I'm not sure if crying or screaming or laughing through the hysteria will solve anything at all. Sometimes I'm so desperate to touch to be touched to feel that I'm almost certain I'm going to fall off a cliff in an alternate universe where no one will ever be able to find me.

It doesn't seem impossible.

I've been screaming for years and no one has ever heard me.

How could you not love this? I just want to read it over and over and over.

One thing that seemed to bother people was the use of strike-throughs. Personally, I absolutely adore stricken text. It is a cool writing tool that can be very powerful and effective when used well. And it was used perfectly in this book. But just as a warning, if it bothers you, it is used pretty heavily toward the beginning.

*Warning: The rest of this review contains spoilers.*

As for the characters, I loved being inside Juliette's head. It was fascinating, though painful. One thing I feel the need to address is that she had a mentality where she had a very difficult time believing her beauty/how Adam could actually love her. However, while those traits are usually obnoxious and overused, I completely believed her in this. She had looked in a mirror one time in three years. She could not touch people without killing them. She had been ostracized and abused by every person in her life. While Adam had always been different, he had never showed her affection until the events of this book, either. Ergo, while those excuses are usually trite and tired, they rang true in this story.

Adam. I loved him so. His loyalty and love made my heart happy. I am interested in his power. At first, I thought it was a bit of a cop out. I wanted to know how they were going to have a love story without being able to touch. But I wound up being quite okay with it. Particularly because the scenes where they did touch? Amazing. Those were often where the writing struck me the most.

The love (triangle? square? pentagon?) story was so confusing! At first, I was refreshed to see a straightforward love story in a series. I figured it was too good to be true, and we were just waiting for the third point of the triangle to appear. And I was right. Warner showed up, and I figured it was him. But then he was completely insane and utterly evil. There might still be something there, especially since he is able to touch her? But I wouldn't think so; it also makes him a more formidable enemy, able to threaten Juliette in a more personal way. A while after Warner, I thought it was going to be Kenji. Then Brendan seemed like an obvious choice. Then Kenji was mentioned again in a way that seemed to make it possible. So confusing! I do like that it isn't a straight up love triangle, at least at this point in time. It is a tad maddening, though. In a good way. For the most part. At the moment, I am still rooting for her and Adam, and it would take a lot to threaten that. On the other hand, I am the queen of multishipping as of late. I am particularly intrigued by Brendan, but I don't know if I like the idea of romance between him and Juliette. Time will tell.

I will leave you with a quote.

"So why won't you tell me your name?" He leans forward and I freeze.

I thaw.

I melt. "Juliette," I whisper. "My name is Juliette."

His lips soften into a smile that cracks apart my spine.


  1. The writing was by far my favorite thing about Shatter Me as well. There is nothing else quite like it out right now.

    1. Absolutely! I was continually stunned by it throughout the entire book. It was just amazing!

  2. Wow! I'm even more excited to read this one now! Been curious for a while and now it's certainly moved way up my To Be Read list! (I stopped at "The rest of this review contains spoilers" so I wouldn't ruin it for myself.
    I really love your blog by the way! New follower. Come check mine out as well? Thanks! :)

    1. Oh, it was so good! I want to read it again just to soak up the amazing writing.

      Good plan at stopping at the spoiler warning. :) I'm a huge spoiler-phobe myself, so I try to be conscientious about that.

      I just followed your blog back! I quite like it on first impression, and I will have to look at it more in depth to discover the further awesomeness.


Psst! I now reside over at The Book Barbies. I'd still love to hear your thoughts, though!