Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Gather 'round, kiddos. It's time for that monumental moment that we've all been waiting for- my first review! Today I will be covering Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I will note beforehand that, though I will not reveal major plot secrets, I will be talking about some of the character's development and how I felt about them.

"You can't touch me," I whisper.
I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.
He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.
But things happen when people touch me.
Strange things.
Bad things.
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.

To start, let me just say: wow. I was not expecting this book to be so interesting and compelling. I had put off this book for such a long time because I had very low hopes for it, but now, I completely regret that choice. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend picking it up.

The way that Mafi writes is a unique element to the story in its own. Not only does she write in a short, choppy way contrasted against subtle detail really intrigued me. Most of the heroins thoughts are crossed out, like so. It was a really interesting style of writing that I hadn't been exposed to, but I really enjoyed. Many of our thoughts as humans are ones that we scold ourselves for thinking, especially with what someone like Juliette has endured. When I tried to explain it to my friends, they simply titled their heads in confusion, but I promise when you read it, the words flow together easily.

However, I felt like some elements could have been changed. Juliette's relationship with her love interest was- dare I say it- boring. Having read many YA books before this, I felt like her relationship with him was plain and nothing I couldn't have expected. On the opposite end, though, I still see a glimmer of hope as there is another, highly hated character that I personally think could really add dynamics to her character.

Warner, the primary antagonist and previously mentioned hopeless lover, is a deemed psychopath bent obsessing over Juliette and what makes her so strange. I feel like both Warner and Juliette's characters could heavily evolve in different ways. I feel as though Warner definitely has a large potential to become a really deep character, but I highly doubt Mafi will ever even consider Warner as a potential candidate for love, considering all heroins of YA fiction simply have to be stuck like glue to their one-dimensional love interest.

Another region where Mafi could've improved upon was the plotline. Even from the synopsis, you get the image that Juliette will become a weapon, which could have opened many doors of possibility if she gave in, her morals encompassing her and her decisions. However, she runs off with Adam (surprise surprise) and decides to fight back (didn't see that one coming, huh?) I didn't feel like we saw very much of the Reestablishment or the real world outside. She was simply locked up for half of the book.

Finally, another issue I found was the character development. I feel like Mafi's writing style easily lends itself to an intense character change for Juliette, but it never fully came like a tidal wave. Maybe if you were nit-picky about it you could spot the subtle changes, but I prefer to know exactly who the character is in the beginning to who they are in the end. I did enjoy the fact that Juliette did not develop her character traits in the beginning from waking up one day and going, "Oh! From now on I will be kind and thoughtful!" That was certainly a nice change from some of the vomit I've read in the past.

All in all, I do think that this is a good read and will take you little to no time to fly through it. If you have any time to spare, I do recommend heading over to your local bookstore and picking this up because, even though it may come off as differently, it truly is a fine story. I am eager to read the sequel.

Over and out,

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