Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
by Tahereh Mafi
Summary: 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.
liked loved this book. I thought the plot was incredibly interesting. I loved the way it was written and thought it was unique. The synopsis doesn’t say a whole lot and the book starts out with Juliette in an institution. She narrates and continuously crosses out things she doesn’t mean to say. The reader gets pieces of the situation and must figure out what happened – to the world and to Juliette. Her narration left a lot of room for questions, which I liked. I don’t like when dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels have characters that know too much without legitimate reasons for knowing how it all works and Juliette was not like this. She really didn’t know what was going on, either, and I believed her point of view. I loved Juliette. Immediately, I was hooked on the story and was trying to figure out what exactly happened to her. Although the crossed out sentences and words could seem gimmicky, I thought it added to my overall reading experience and helped me understand her.
“I always wonder about raindrops.
I wonder about how they're always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It's like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn't seem to care where the contents fall, doesn't seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.
I am a raindrop.
My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab.”
Although Juliette is a depressing narrator, I liked her because she seemed real. When people touch her, bad things happen, so no one touches her. I imagine that a life of being inside an institution, forgotten and left behind by anyone who ever knew her would lead to a somewhat sad view of the world. I didn’t expect her to be strong after having the world beat her down for so many years. I didn’t expect her to be comfortable with her surroundings or trust people easily or be skeptical of the right people right away or any of that. Had she been super badass from the start, I would have been irritated because it wouldn’t have made sense. I’m all about awesome chicks in screwed up worlds, but I think it’s ridiculous that anyone would expect a character like Katniss in The Hunger Games to be in every novel. Warning: If you, however, prefer all your female characters to be totally awesome and strong no matter what, then you probably won’t like Juliette.
As the story goes on, the plot thickens and things start to happen to Juliette and she starts to grow and understand herself and the world around her. Without giving anything away, my overall impression of the book is that it was intense. There were so many intense moments and scenes that made my jaw drop or I gasped. I wish I could say more and I wish I could explain Adam’s character more, but I feel like I would be giving too much away. There’s definitely romance in the book, though it’s mainly tension, for obvious reasons. I liked the entire dynamic of it all.
“You can't touch me," I whisper. I'm lying, is what I don't tell him. He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him. Please touch me, is what I want to tell him.”
“His lips soften into a smile that cracks apart my spine. He repeats my name like the word amuses him. Entertains him. Delights him.
In seventeen years no one has said my name like that”
I liked the way the story progressed and the way it ended. Other reviews mention that the ending sort of left something to be desired, but I thought it was fitting, especially as the first book in a series. Not a whole lot happens regarding the state of the world, but Juliette grows into herself and understands a lot more and I thought it was satisfying. Of course, I can’t wait to get my hands on book two!
Shatter Me is a dystopian novel, but it isn’t quite like others I’ve read. It deals a lot with internal conflict and focuses less on external conflict. It makes the story seem slow and it feels like not much is happening, but it’s because it’s all happening to the character. It’s less action packed and more about the growth of the characters. Also, there’s a lot of focus on romance. I feel like this is all part of Juliette’s growth, but I imagine that people looking for something more about the state of the world will not enjoy this book. I included a few quotes in this review to provide examples of how the book is written. While I absolutely loved it, the negative reviews I saw all hated the writing and thought it was pretentious and terrible and trying too hard to be poetic. I think it all adds to the progression of the characters and makes sense, but it is wordy and won’t appeal to everyone.
I would definitely recommend this book to others as long as they heed my warnings about the main character and the writing and are prepared for it.