Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

SHATTER ME is the story of Juliette, a seventeen years old girl locked in an asylum in complete isolation for over six months, exactly 264 days.  She has not touched anyone in over six years because no one wants to touch her skin. As an uprising develops, the Reestablishment plans to use her as a weapon.

The world does not care about her existence, not as long as she’s locked up. The planet is breaking, nature is dying, food is scarce, and people are dying in battle. She must thrive to survive in hopes for a future she thought she would never have.

I read a fair share of mixed reviews (like this one) before reading this book, and I decided to try it myself. After all, I love dystopian fiction. Recently, in the last two or three years the dystopian fiction genre has become popular, competing with the vampire genre in the Young Adult category. I’m guilty of reading a few of these books, including popular trilogies, titles such as Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games, and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.

Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me is not one of my favorites, but I’m glad I tried it. At first, I tried listening to the audio book version, but I did not enjoy the first twenty minutes of it. I ended up returning it to audible. The narrator’s voice sounds too young for the sixteen years old girl described in this book. It’s nothing to do with her narrator. Listen to the audio sample before buying the audio book version of this book. I ended up buying an electronic copy.

Shatter Me has a distinctive and sometimes poetic writing style. Tahereh Mafi writes in Juliette’s perspective, making the reader feel as if reading from Juliette’s personal journal. The author uses strikethroughs in her writing to convey Juliette’s mental and emotional state. The character scratches words and sentences off from her mind, correcting herself. The sentences would read this way: “I’m not insane. I’m not insane. I’m not insane.”

Mafi sets up the scene nicely. Juliette’s world intrigued me. There is a supernatural aspect to the story that makes this dystopian different from the others. In Juliette’s world, some humans develop abilities that give them a physical advantage to others, enemies and friends. (Note: Most reviewers on Goodreads recommend this book to those who enjoy the paranormal genre. I must also add that the new cover of the book is very attractive. I can’t stop looking at the eye.)

However, I still have mixed feelings about this book. I believe her enemies use her fear (of her capacity) to their advantage, turning her abilities against herself. I hope that Juliette will learn to control her powers and take charge of her abilities in the second installment. This way she will be less emotionally vulnerable, more confident in her abilities. I give this book two and a half stars for impartiality (half of a five stars rating).

The second installment of Tahereh Mafi’s trilogy, Unravel Me, comes out on February 5, 2013. There’s also an in-between book already in stores, Destroy Me (in the enemy’s perspective).

Note: There’s mild use of profanity, child abuse, and intimate touching in this book.

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
File Size: 489 KB
Print Length: 357 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062085484
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (November 15, 2011)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
ASIN: B00526VVN2

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