30 July 2013

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
by Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Published: November 15th 2011 by Harper
Format Acquired: (Signed) Paperback from Louisse of The Soul Sisters (thank you!!!)
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
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.
I did it. I can't believe I did it. I actually finished Shatter Me. I wanted to read this so bad but at the same time I didn't. You can see reviews of this book that are polar opposites. Shatter Me is a book that you either super love or super hate. I'm a bit in the middle and I'll tell you why.

Okay so the story starts off pretty good because you really see the inner workings of a teenage girl's mind. One who's been imprisoned in an asylum for nearly a year and doesn't know affection. The first couple of chapters were enough to pique my interest because it got me wondering about Juliette's backstory, where her power came from and what exactly happens when she touches people. It was interesting, I'll give it that. But the writing ticked me off after reading a few more pages. The writing's... new. Original. Cuckoo. Juliette talks in a very weird way as far as young adult novels go. She repeats words again and again and again to emphasize her point. She
sometimes a lot and it annoyed me to no end. There were plenty of strikethroughs in the beginning that, fortunately, lessened towards the end. I kind of liked them because they were what Juliette wanted to say or what she was thinking. I think it's a fresh style in writing that makes me somehow like the book. Then there's the excessive use of 'and' and lack of punctuation. Sometimes I feel out of breath reading a whole paragraph of run-on sentences. So she's been in the asylum far too long that she's all kinds of crazy. Fine. But don't even get me started on the ridiculous and awkward metaphors. A lot of people complained about the utterly disappointing metaphors and I understand why.

Exhibit A:

"I catch the rose petals as they fall from my cheeks, as they float around the frame of my body, as they cover me in something that feels like the absence of courage."

"Every organ in my body falls to the ground."

"My eyes are 2 professional pickpockets, stealing everything to store away in my mind."

"He shifts and my eyes shatter into thousands of pieces that ricochet around the room, capturing a million snapshots, a million moments in time."

"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."

Let's not forget all the dirty things these hormonal teenagers say.

Exhibit B:

"You're absolutely delicious when you're angry." "Too bad my taste is poisonous for your palate." "That detail makes this game so much more appealing."

"You don't know it yet, Juliette, but you are a very bad girl,"

"And he's breathing harder than I am and suddenly his lips are on my neck and I'm gasping and dying and clutching at his arms and he's touching me touching me touching me..."

WOAH STOP RIGHT THERE. Honestly, Juliette. When you repeat 'touching me' it sounds like something else. *wags eyebrows* I just couldn't catch a break! Every page is filled with this! I'm all for creative writing but you have to know when to stop driving your readers crazy. But... maybe that's what Mafi was going for. Drive readers crazy, as crazy as Juliette. Bingo. In all fairness though, the story gets better once Juliette cracks under Warner's psychopathic rule. You just have to get used to or get past the writing style. Numb yourself. You could actually use it for a drinking game. For every time Juliette repeats a word, drink a shot. Juliette describes her make out sessions with Adam in a really non-PG way, drink a shot. Juliette says a weird ass metaphor, drink a shot. You'll be drunk before you make it halfway Fun times.

I don't even know what to think of Juliette. She's whiny, insecure and obsessive but I just chalk it up to being friendless and locked up for so long. She's this super girl one minute, unafraid of pulling triggers but then she's also this weak girl desperate for affection. It just doesn't add up. So no, I don't know whether I like her or not. I could like her mental instability if she stuck with the crazy girl image. Otherwise, what is she? She can't be both girls. And Adam....bland. So bland. No swooning here, nope.

What did I like about the book? Oh yes, I found something I actually like about Shatter Me! Juliette's cuckoo but her power was cool. Amid the odd writing, Mafi described Juliette's life sucking power in a very... beautiful way. Beautiful. It was intense and I like it. Even if it was mentioned once. Boo! I also like the last quarter of the book where the story unravels and gives readers something to look forward to in the sequels. And to some extent, I also like Warner in all his psychopathic awesomeness. I know fans are shipping Warner and Juliette but right now I don't see how I could possibly like them together. Them getting together... that's just too much crazy. I have yet to read Unravel Me to see why everyone ships them.

If you're looking for a good dystopia then you might want to steer clear of this book. You definitely won't get the same substance and world building one can find in The Hunger Games or 1984. I think the insta love and constant self-pitying overpowered whatever potential this book has. I'd still read the next book though because I like torturing myself. No, seriously. I'm just curious how the story would pan out in Unravel Me. Hey, at least Mafi gave me something to hang on to.

My Rating
(If you read my review you'd understand the strikethrough)
About the author
Tahereh Mafi

She’s 25. She's the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the SHATTER ME series. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Orange County, California, where she drinks too much caffeine and finds the weather to be just a little too perfect for her taste. When unable to find a book, she can be found reading candy wrappers, coupons, and old receipts. SHATTER ME is her first novel. 

Foreign rights have sold in 25 territories to-date and film rights have been optioned by 20th Century Fox.

Her work is represented by Jodi Reamer of Writers House, LLC



  1. LOL I laughed so hard at your strikethrough rating, it literally sums up the whole book!

    I've yet to read this however many other reviews also commented about the writing and posted weird excerpts. The author's style of writing is really a major factor in my enjoyment of the book, so I think I'll have to pass this one. It's one thing to be poetic, however Mafi's writing just makes me want to roll my eyes so hard.

    Thanks for the funny and insightful review!

    Estelle @ Reading in the Dark

  2. The author made a huge leap in YA regarding her writing style. For me, it was good (both amazing and absurd at the same time), though. :) Sometimes I forget how books can be really subjective.

    Juliette's character was, honestly, whiny in the first book. But I sort of understand considering her past/situation. She gets better in book 2! :)

    Great insight, Sab! Very honest [and funny] review. :D

    Kyle @ The Selkie Reads Stories

  3. Did you catch the one with the "My jaws fall to my kneecaps" or something. I was like "WHAAAAAT?!" lol. Your strike through rating is hilarious! And a heads up, Unravel Me makes Juliette/Adam scenes in Shatter Me look like it's rated G. Seriously.

  4. OMG I laughed so hard when I read your review. I can feel the way you feel towards the book. The strikethroughs and constant repeating of some words were quite... disturbing... but I just ignored it. Haha. Somehow I still enjoyed the book, regardless of the writing style.

    Thumbs up for this great review!

  5. Totally agreeing with your review. Haha. Looking forward to your review in Unravel Me and of your reaction to Chapter 62. ;)

  6. I FREAKING LOVE YOUR REVIEW (especially that strikethrough rating) <3333 Sure, it isn't for anyone but I love all the strikethroughs and whatnots. :D

  7. People seem to love or hate this book. I was somewhere in the middle. I absolutely loved the writing style, which I know turns a lot of people off, but was less enamored with the plot. Mostly because I thought Adam was boring and Warren was really interesting. I still want to read the next book since Warren plays a bigger role.

    Marlene Detierro (Tony Lama Boot)