Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Posted March 20th, 2012 in Uncategorized / 10 comments

Shatter Me

Book #1 of the Shatter Me Series

by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperCollins (November 15, 2011)
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Paranormal
Pages: 338 (Hardcover)
Source: Personal Library (Won in Giveaway)
Purchase: Amazon / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

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.

The Good
Simply Intense Beautiful…
Um…Wow. What else can I say? I was completely blown away by how much I LOVED this book. I literally read it in one sitting. I would not could not put it down. Shatter Me grabbed my attention from the first page and wouldn’t let go until the very last. The writing was intense beautiful and eerie at the same time. The narration from the protagonist Juliette took this read from good to amazing. Watching her layers peel off one by one to expose reveal her complexity and passion was breathtaking.

One touch and Juliette’s life changed forever. After accidentally killing someone by simply touching them, Juliette is locked away, forgotten about, left to rot for the ability she has no control over. And as Juliette slowly goes crazy from isolation, The Reestablishment tries to get ahold of a dying world. But is The Reestablishment out to make the world a better place for everyone or just a select few? Either way, they have set their sights on Juliette because her curse gift might just swing the upcoming war in their favor.  Who can Juliette trust? What can one girl do to save a dying world?

It is the East, and Juliette is the Sun…
Juliette made this book. I loved being in her head. Her inner ramblings musings and thoughts helped the reader to be drawn into a world of cruelty and ugliness. A place that has lost most of its humanity because the bad people are now running what’s left of the world. But Juliette also shows us the beauity and love still left in the world. What really captures the readers attention is Juliette’s time in the insane asylum. Her thoughts are so fascinating. She sees things differently than the rest of us because of what she has went through. She fears, loves, hopes so much more intensely that it really helped me care for her character.  Her observations were both analytical and sporadic at the same time, so I couldn’t wait to see what she thought up next. She is lost fragile and fearful but also surprisingly strong and resilient at the same time.

The world she paints for us is terrifying, poignant, and stunning. Reading through Juliette’s point of view helped everything seem more vibrant, more real. Her interactions with Adam both saddened me and made me hopeful. Juliette is that kind of person that just needs that one person to complete her. She needs an anchor that she can trust. Is Adam that person?  You will have to read to find out.

Adam and Eve Juliette…
Adam was a complex character that I can’t say much about because it would be too spoilerish. We meet him when he is thrown into the same cell as Juliette, her first human interaction in over 250 days. As you can imagine, a somewhat hardass boy being thrown in with a fearful, timid girl was a very exciting frightening situation that played out in a way I was not expecting. I can tell you this, when it comes to Adam you will hate him, love him, then hate again, then love, then hate once again, then… Well, you get the idea. His role in the whole book was very complex so there was never a dull moment between him and Juliette. You always questioned and were cautious, never knowing what was in store for any of the characters. But the times when its good between Adam and Juliette it’s very good (yummy).

Horribly Fascinating…
Now, Warner was a truly fascinating horrible character. I found myself getting both excited and nervous whenever he walked into the scene. His abnormal obsession with Juliette left me unsure of what he had in store for her. He thinks he can use her as a weapon against his enemies but fails to realize that Juliette is a good person through and through. But he’s adamant that he can make her see things his way. And through his determination, he finds himself drawn to Juliette in ways that made me shiver. He was the perfect creepy bad guy.

Mafi’s the Bomb…
For those who don’t know, this book is written with many strike throughs throughout the whole book. It represents what Juliette really thinks but never says or can’t admit. Many people didn’t like that. I think it fit perfectly with the book. It helped with the theme of learning to accept and love one’s self no matter what, freakishness and all. Mafi did a great job of taking the reader into a whirlwind of Juliette’s thoughts and inner pain. It was beautiful, intriguing, and, (though I said this already, I have to say it again) breathtaking. I can only imagine what it’s like to have never enjoyed the touch of another human being. That lack of love comfort has taken away a very vital piece of life from Juliette, but how Mafi handles it makes you hopeful for a better life for Juliette in the future.

Our Future?
Out of the many dystopian novels I have read, this one rings the most true. I can easily see our world turning into the distorted version in Shatter Me. Global warming, nuclear war, and diseases can easily turn our world upside down just as easily. We already see the cost of corrupt governments to their countries. Who says it can’t spread throughout the world, become a global problem? This book hit a little too close to home for me. I felt like I was seeing a possible future for us, even if it may be decades centuries away from now. It helped pull me into the world Juliette lives in because the reality of the situation was not unimaginable.

The Bad
Can I nitpick and point out some faults in this book? Yes. But truthfully I enjoyed reading Shatter Me so much the minor annoyances really didn’t make a difference, so I am not even going to mention them. Okay, maybe I will mention one thing. The ending was a tiny bit anti-climactic but it in no way took away my love for the book. I still can’t wait to read the next book.

The Snuggly
Expect some mild sexual situations but no actual sex. The romance was sweet between Adam and Juliette. And the sexual tension was simply heart pounding.

I am so happy I have been reading more young adult and dystopian novels lately because they have really made my reading feel more complete. Shatter Me has all the elements one looks for in a book: action, romance, obstacles, triumphs, villains, and heroes. I knew that this was going to be an amazing book when I couldn’t put it down. The real world was lost to me because Mafi did such a great job at creating characters that I cared about and didn’t want to leave until I knew they were safe. The writing was superb and the world Mafi built was frighteningly realistic. This is one absorbing read. Highly recommended.  

I tuck a piece of hair behind my ear only to change my mind. “Why do you stare so much?”

His eyes are careful, curious. “I figured the only reason they would lock me up with a girl was because you were crazy. I thought they were trying to torture me by putting me in the same space as a psychopath. I thought you were my punishment.”

“That’s why you stole my bed.” To exert power. To stake a claim. To fight first.

He drops his eyes. Clasps and unclasps his hands before rubbing the back of his neck. “Why’d you help me? How’d you know I wouldn’t hurt you?”

I count my fingers to make sure they’re still there. “I didn’t.”


“You think I’m some kind of freak you can show off to your friends?” Locked. Loaded.

Kenji clears his throat. “Not a freak. Just…interesting.”

I point my gun at his nose. “I’m so interesting I can kill you with my bare hands.”

A barely perceptible flash of fear flickers in his eyes. He swallows a few gallons of humilaty. Tries to smile. “You sure you’re not crazy?’

“No.” I cock my head. “I’m not sure.”

I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Book Review Blogs.


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10 Responses to “Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi”

  1. Sarah (saz101)

    Oh, Jen… I don’t say this lightly, because I’ve read a LOT of reviews for Shatter Me, but this is truly the best, most beautiful review I’ve read of it.

    It’s the most stunningly beautiful book, and to see is so lovingly covered and reviewed and conveyed… oh, I want to hug you. You’ve summed up everything I could possibly want to say, from Juliette’s strength and fragility, to her beautiful mind and narration, and the writing. Oh my goodness, the writing just… it destorys me. Tahereh Mafi is not human O___O

    Oh, and is not PERFECT that as the book progresses, Juliette stops sensoring herself? She stops denying, stops crossing herself out? I LOVE IT. I love watching her confidences grow, and I LOVE how Mafi showed it. Seriously. Count the number of mother-loving ‘loves’ in this comments. You gwe the picture ;D

    And oh my WORD. The heat between Adam and Juliette? In a YA book? Without anything actually happening? It’s steamier and more electric than many fully-fledged sex scenes in some very adult novels I’ve read!

    Oh, I agree with you on EVERYTHING you’ve pointed out. Juliette’s world scared me, because it felt like a genuine possibility. It’s not a far-flung concept, it’s a civilisation collapsing, with scarce resources… honestly, there are parts of our world already like this… it TERRIFIED me… and YES, I thought the ending was a little anti-climactic ;D

    Seriously, seriously, S E R I O U S L Y amazing review. THANK YOU! <3

    • Jennifer L. Bielman

      AWWW, you are so sweet. Thank you so much. I am happy you enjoyed my review. I really felt strongly about this book so it helped me write a good review. I actually just read your review of it and we seem to have hit on all the same points, hehe. This is the BEST comment EVER.

      I know, the steam was coming off the pages and nothing too sexual even happens. It’s amazing. I just love Mafi, she is like my new favorite writer. And Juliette is my new fav protagonist.

      And hell yes the possibility of that world becoming ours is freakin’ scary. I got chills just reading the book sometimes because I knew this could be our world one day.

    • Sarah (saz101)

      Awww, Thanks yoooou! I’m re-reading my comment and… err… I got a bit excited? 😀

      I’m not blowing smoke up your behind, I swear, I LOVED it, and YES, you touched on everything I loved about the book, and the only ONE thing I was little let down on. PERFECT.
      LOVE ♥

  2. Heather M Bryant

    Awesome review! I loved this book too and couldn’t understand why people don’t seem to like the writing. I loved it. I loved the strikethroughs and I loved how Juliette was really focused on the little things around her. It gave her an unhinged feeling, like she was struggling to hold onto the world.

    Both quotes you chose instantly took me back and I actually want to read it again now lol.

    I agree with everything you said about Warner. I love that psychopath’s guts.

    As for the hot and heavy… It was HOT and HEAVY. But I think after a while, I just wanted them to stop with the lip lock and start with the plot. A very minor criticism though.

  3. Kate

    Woohoo! Wonderful review for a wonderful book! Except I need to stop reading reviews for this, because they just remind me of how much I want the next one!!

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