Friday, December 9, 2011
Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi
Release date: November 15th 2011
Published by: Harper/HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
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 this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.
Oh, this review is going to be tough. So, I'll give it my best shot. It's always hard to write reviews of books that I absolutely loved - and Shatter Me is no exception. I didn't think I would feel so connected to this story, to its characters. I never thought I would love Juliette so much as a protagonist.
I said before in one of my reviews that when the main character is... broken, it adds a different element to the book. The narration fits the protagonist's thoughts, so the writing is messed-up (in a good way) and confusing. I love that. But with Shatter Me, it was quite different. It had, of course, this strange messed-up style, but it was, at the same time, so beautiful. English is not my first language, and Tahereh Mafi's writing completely enchanted me. The metaphors that she used to describe situations and feelings were heart-warming. I took more time than usual to read this book, but not because I couldn't connect with it -- I was savoring the writing. It's so beautiful (there isn't another word to describe it) that I may actually re-read Shatter Me just to have this experience all over again.
And with the wonderful writing, came Juliette. She's so broken, after so many years without touching another human-being, after spending her whole life believing she's some sort of monster, who can't touch without hurting and killing. It was a knife in my heart every time she suffered and remembered how nobody acknowlegded her existence as a person without assimilating the word freak. She hasn't even looked at the mirror for years, afraid of what may stare back at her. And yet, she stares at the world around her without malice. Even after everything that has happened to her, Juliette doesn't seek revenge.
The Reestablishment has taken over, Earth is dying, people are dying of hunger and poverty, and yet, Juliette sees the world differently. She can see the good in it, even if it's bursting with darkness. She can imagine if the birds are flying outside her cell, even if the clouds are not the same anymore. That said, Juliette is a remarkable character in the YA literature.
And she's not the only one that's so throughly complex.
Adam (the famous Adam, whom so many reviews have talked about) is perfect. And not perfect in a disturbing, strange, Edward-Cullen, impossible kind of perfect. I'm talking about a human kind of perfect. Since they were kids, Adam was able to fully see who Juliette was. He had a lot of problems himself, mostly with his dad, and he could comprehend how Juliette was not a psycho. How she helped someone who needed it, even after being treated like dirt by a lot of people.
Adam wants to bring out the best of Juliette. He can see how good she is, despite her touch being lethal. He's afraid of many things, and he doesn't hide who he is, not really. I love that about him. Adam is not perfect, and yet, even with flaws, he tries to do the best he can with what he has. It's normal to find a super-confident badass love interest in YA literature nowadays, and mostly, I don't have a problem with this kind of guys. But Adam is so much more interesting than that.
Adam and Juliette complete each other. They can wake up and do what needs to be done because they know that, even with her touch being able to kill a person, and him not being perfect, they can work it out. It's not a perfect relationship, and that's what make it so freaking wonderful to read.
I cheered for them, I laughed with them. The beggining of the book was slow, but it was necessary to fully understand Juliette's state of mind. The rest is pure perfection. I know see why so many reviews are positive and 5-star. Shatter Me is incredible.
In this review, I didn't really talk about the plot -- I think the story is so full of surprises, and with just one sentence, I may ruin a lot of them. So I'm sticking with just the characters and that I felt while I was reading it. So I tell you this: Read Shatter Me. Trust me, it'll be worth it. This whole book is worth it.