Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Pages: 338
November 15th 2011
Publisher: Harper


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.

Take a moment for me, okay?  Just look at how beautiful this cover is.  I always say that a cover should be representative of the books content.  And in this case, it is 100% true.  What’s better? All the books in this series are just as beautiful.

First and foremost, the writing is stunning.  The style and quality of Mafi’s writing is something so unique and refreshing.  It’s poetical.  And honest to God guys it’s such a beautiful thing to read.  At first I was kind of thrown off by it because it’s not a typical way that YA is written, but Mafi did it exceedingly well.

I open my eyes and he’s standing right in front of me.  My heart is a field of lilies blooming under a pane of glass, pitter-pattering to life like a rush of raindrops.  His jaw is as tight as his eyes as tight as his fists as tight as the strain in his arms.

“You’ve always known?” 3 whispered words and he’s broken my dam, unlocked my lips and stolen my heart all over again.  I can hardly feel the tears streaming down my face.

“Adam.” I try to laugh and my lips trip on a stifled sob. “I’d recognize your eyes anywhere in the world.”

The book starts off with our female MC, Juliette, locked in an asylum’s isolation room because she has the ability to kill people with her touch.  She’s been there for almost a full year, and she’s kind of crazy going crazy.  It’s a dystopian with x-men powers mixed in.  Not unique, but not overplayed either.  Without giving too much away, we follow Juliette on her journey of being slowly re-introduced to the realities and mysteries of the now-destroyed world.

Juliette’s character development is 100% there.  Just like in the synopsis, certain words and phrases are crossed off with a pen/pencil in the book.  At the beginning it’s frequent, but by the end it’s rare.  To me, this is completely synonymous with her growth as a character.  At the beginning she’s unsure of everything except numbers – “there’s ___ cracks in the wall” “there’s ___ steps to here, turn left, wall gets soft, __ more steps” “I’ve been here for __ hours, __ minutes, ___ seconds”  “I hold count to ____ before anyone shows up”.  And it’s so damn sad.  Numbers are the only truths in her life, the only thing she is absolutely certain of.  And it honestly makes her seem like she’s finally cracked from being in isolation.  However, by the end of the book she’s getting necessary interaction, affection, trust, and it helps her grow in so many ways.  Juliette is a beautiful human being, and you see this throughout the entire book.

This book is told in first person, so when you read the crossed off parts you know she’s mentally correcting what she’s thinking to herself.  I’ve never felt so connected to a MC before and I think the writing is what made me feel that way.  Honestly some parts of this book made me genuinely sad for Juliette.  She has such an abused upbringing you can really feel how much she’s given up.  All I wanted to do was give her a hug and be her friend.  All she wants is a friend!  Uggggh. Serious sad face forever.

I’m conflicted on the romance.  The romance was insta-lovey… but not… at the same time.  It’s like Mafi knows that people hate the insta-love trope so she took it and twisted it so it wasn’t really insta-love anymore.  Pretty much the whole book is dedicated to Adam and Juliette’s love story.. I think it’s even in the first chapter where Adam is thrust into the storyline, but not without necessity.  Adam plays a vital role in the progression of Juliet’s character and storyline development.  Adam’s role is completely necessary.  So although the love is kinda questionable, you kind of have to leave it or else the entire book unravels.

Mafi makes a play on a love triangle and then completely warps it to OUR (the readers) delight.  The other big player in the book is Warner* (not Warren DERP FOREVER), and he psychotic.  Yes, seriously.  He’s madly in love (????) and obsessed with the power that Juliette holds.  He tries to court her and woo her, he tells her the sweet nothings of being evil and how they’re perfect for each other.  He forces her to sexualize her body in tight dresses and punishes others to threaten her.  He’s a fucking perfect villain, and by the end of the book you really want him gone.

Overall, I can’t believe I never took a chance on this earlier.  It was honestly the synopsis that threw me off – I didn’t like the crossed off parts because it made the book seem really weird.  However, I am super glad I took the plunge and read it.  I’m already halfway through Unravel Me (book #2) and I love it.

4/5 stars.


9 thoughts on “Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

  1. Read Diverse Books says:

    OK. I’m genuinely considering this book now. I’m happy to support an author like Tahereh Mafi and am open to YA literature once in a while. The books seem to have generally positive reviews on goodreads, especially the sequels. But for Shatter Me, there are some scathing reviews mixed in about it being boring, stupid, and having bad writing. But not everyone is going to be pleased!

    I’ll sit with it for 30 minutes while I”m at Barnes and Noble this weekend and see if I like what I read. Thanks!!


    • cat says:

      I want to say that I was a little thrown off at the beginning because of the writing too.. But that’s because I wasn’t used to it! I saw some pretty scathing things on Goodreads as well but I felt like most of what was said could be reasoned with. 30 minutes is a solid idea :). Let me know what you think! She grows A LOT by the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Heather Stewart says:

    I’m so with you. I only have Ignite Me left and I find the love story and developing triangle really interesting. I didn’t at first but then I realized it is so much more about obsession and building an idea of a person without knowing them, like if she was a celebrity. And I love the powers too.


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