Shatter Me is written by Tahereh Mafi. It was published in 2011 by Harper. It is the first in a trilogy, no surprise there. Mafi’s website can be found here.
“No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.
But Juliette has plans of her own.
After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.”
Okay, so I try my best, with books I don’t like, to find something good to talk about, even if it’s a “this was decent.” But I actually am struggling to come up with even one thing that I liked about this book.
One of the first things I notice about a book is its writing. And this book has what is possibly the most annoying type of writing I have ever come across. The nitpicky part of me screamed every time numerals were used (as in “4 walls, 1 door” rather than “four walls, one door”) and Mafi used a sort of run-on sentence type of writing where Juliette repeats words for emphasis three, four, even five times on almost every single page. There was a distinct lack of commas and some of the descriptions were incredibly…strange.
There was little to no worldbuilding, so I just ended up confused about how the world ended up the way it did. There’s no need to go into expositional detail (a la The Selection), but some glimpses would be nice.
How convenient that Juliette’s True Love can touch her. How convenient that Juliette’s Nemesis can touch her, too, so that he’s free to become even more creepy and Evil by groping her.
Seriously, by the time the romance kicked in (which was in about ten pages, mind you) I was so over the book (more accurately, as soon as the romance kicked in I was over it). Adam/Juliette is entirely too convenient, way too perfect, and the most puke-worthy thing I’ve ever read. I actually found myself skipping the parts where they interact with each other because I simply could not stand it.
I could go on, but I fear if I do I will revert to snark, and that’s something I try to avoid (sometimes unsuccessfully).
Recommended Age Range: 16+
Warnings: Kissing, sensual/sexual situations, swearing, violence
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
“They want to re-create everything,” he continues. “They want to redesign everything. They want to destroy anything that could’ve been the reason for our problems. They think we need a new, universal language.” He drops his voice. Drops his eyes. “They want to destroy everything. Every language in history.”
“No.” My breath hitches. Spots cloud my vision.
“No.” This I did not know.
He looks up. “It’s good that you’re writing things down. One day what you’re doing will be illegal.”
He must have a mother a father someone who loves him this child this child this child stumbling forward in terror. He could be speared through by a metal stalagmite at any second.
Saving him is simple: I need to pick him up, find a safe spot of ground, and hold him in my arms until the experiment is over.
There’s only one problem.
If I touch him, he might die.
I struggled to finish Shatter Me and regretted every minute I spent reading it when I could have been reading better books. Too much convenience in the romance; too much romance, full stop, so that the plot became really weak and the worldbuilding almost nonexistent. The writing was also annoying and I couldn’t stand Juliette’s incessant need to count everything, as if how many steps someone took or how many walls a room had was actually important to the story as a whole.
You can buy this here: Shatter Me