Title: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: November 15th, 2013
Page Count: 338
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.
[Summary Source: Goodreads]
I'm like the last person in the world to read this book. And yet I still think you should read what I have to say. So go. Get to reading.
Let's break this down:
I'm going to start with the boys, because I KNOW you all want to know who my heart belongs to.
Warner: MAYBE THE GREATEST VILLAIN I HAVE READ IN YEARS. There's dimension, there's attraction, there's sheer, unbelievable lunacy. He's the most sympathetic monster I have ever encountered and all I want to do is wrap him up in a million fuzzy blankets until his block-of-ice insides melt into something everyone in the whole wide world can love. And I think the craziest part is that I don't even know his first name. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?
Adam: So. Don't be mad at me. But I'm not Adam's #1 fan. On the one hand his loyalty to Juliette and his brother is so amazingly amazing my heart wants to wrap itself around him and never, ever let go. But at the same time I feel like there's something... missing? Like, he's the strong, loyal hero, but he's more of just Juliette's tag along. And I only know I'm supposed to love him through Juliette's adoring eyes, not through his own personality. Because we don't really hear him talk much, do we? He's really just either pretending to be a solider, making out with Juliette or injured. He's like the supporting actor. He pushes Juliette forward, but that's about it. But the truth is, I'm not entirely against this. The book is about Juliette, not Adam, y'know? I will say, though, that I don't love the trickery at the beginning. It makes me a little suspicious of Adam. Like, if he can put on an act for that long, what else is he hiding? I could just be super paranoid. AM I PARANOID YOU GUYS?
Kenji: Bro's my favskies. Never leave me, Kenji. Never leave me.
Castle and Winston: I don't even know why I'm listing them since they only show up at the end and don't really do TOO much. But man they make me curious. How much more do I NEED to know about both of them, RIGHT NOW?
Also. I did NOT expect the James plot point and I think he's SO VERY ADORBS.
So really, what I'm trying to say is that I ship no one. I'm very happy Juliette is happy with Adam and I want them to ride off into the sun together, but I don't really want to ask any of them to marry me. Especially not James, because that would be weird.
Now the rest:
Guys. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS IS A DYSTOPIAN SUPERHERO BOOK? I don't think I've made it clear just how big of a nerd I am, but I LOVE comic books. I've been reading comic books since I was 13. I was in, and eventually ended up running, the Comic Book Club in high school. I just... I can't.
And as if my love for superheros wasn't enough, the prose in this book is... well, it's like this:
"My eyes are 2 professional pickpockets, stealing everything to store away in my mind." (61)
"My words wear no parachutes as they fall out of my mouth." (108)
"He's wrong he's so wrong he's more wrong than an upside-down rainbow. But everything he said is right." (125)
"I wondered if your eye color meant you saw the world differently. If thy world saw you differently as a result." (150)
There are also a lot of MEANINGFUL quotes I could list aside from these, but I feel like the four quotes above are examples of Tahereh Mafi's brilliant writing style. Like, y'know when you read a sentence and you're like "YES. YES THAT. MORE OF THAT PLEASE."? That was basically me every other page.
I feel like I should also talk about Juliette. She is our protagonist and all that.
First of all, the way the book is written REALLY lets the reader get to know the main character. Like, even though she's very "all by myyyyyseeeeelllfff" at the beginning and then proceeds to become a little boy obsessed with Adam, I'm still completely and totally with her the whole time.
Second of all, even if this story were from a different POV, I'd still be SUPER INTERESTED in Juliette. I mean, SHE'S A SUPERHERO. Or an X-Men (Man? Woman? Women?). Whatever. Not to mention, SHE IS ALL OF THE MYSTERY. I love mystery. And dear God, if I don't want all of the answers. Please, may I have them? Pretty please?
Finally, I feel just feel like she's an honest to goodness GOOD PERSON. Warner, bless his very warped, unhappy heart, doesn't seem to understand this, but she is. And I love good, non-whiny people (Juliette doesn't whine either. She just breaks stuff. Which I definitely approve of). They make me happy. The world should be made of only good, non-whiny people.
To wrap this all up, I want to talk about the world building. I like this the world in this story ISN'T about a plague or a catastrophe or whatever. It's just about a corrupt government screwing with everything (and, I guess, potentially, what gives Juliette her abilities). And while most dystopians (GOOD dystopians) are not-in-your-face cautionary tales, this book is so very real. I mean, there are already governments in this world that hoard the wealth and make its people live in squalor. ALREADY. So really, this book isn't even about the future. It's a social commentary of RIGHT NOW. Maybe the RIGHT NOW I speak of isn't so extremely bad and there are no X-Men (I can't say I'm entirely pleased about the latter), but it's a thing that's real and it's there and that makes this book SO SMART.
The long and short of it?
Plot: Love. LOVE.
World Building: A scary dystopian prospect that's somehow pretty true to real life. As it is. Right now. (In some places in the world, that is.)
Character Development: PLEASE MAY I HUG ALL OF THE CHARACTERS ALWAYS.
Prose: I've never read anything like this (strikeouts included) and, even though I kind of want this to become something more authors do (STRIKEOUTS), I feel like any other author who tries it A) won't be as good and B) will just be ripping Tahereh Mafi off.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Even if you don't like dystopians you should read this. It's different, it's clever, it's beautiful and it's HEARTBREAKING. Thank God I already have Destroy Me and Unravel Me otherwise I would not be a happy person right now.
So, my fellow lovable book nerds, TELL ME: Are you also into comic books? Who is your favorite superhero? HOW do you feel about Warner? Adam? Kenji? James? Juliette? Castle? Winston? But mostly I just want you all to TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS BOOK. Aaaaaand GO! (To the comment box, that is. PLEASE.)