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The Touch, The Feel Of Humans!  The Fabric Of Our Lives

Forever Young Adult presents: A Review of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

The Touch, The Feel Of Humans!  The Fabric Of Our Lives

BOOK REPORT for Shatter Me (Shatter Me Book 1) by Tahereh Mafi

Cover Story: WHAT.
BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: Stream Of Consciousness/Prosetastic
Bonus Factors: Ambiguous Bad Guy, No Birds
Relationship Status: Cautious Optimism

Cover Story: WHAT

Guys. GUYS. I got this book at BEA and it had a temp cover on it, which was just a blank, white cover with "Shatter Me" written on it and I was like, "Ugh, ugs" at the time but WHAT IS THIS??? Have the people who created this cover read this book? Have the people who created this cover read ANY book?

Here is what this book cover tells me: "Hi! My name is Juliette and I want to be America's Next Top Model!! I already knows how to smize! And I'm fiercely modelling this dress that comes with a few extra pouches to keep my joeys/Thai take out containers. Y'ALL BITCHES JUST DON'T KNOW! DON'T BE ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS Y'ALL DON'T KNOW ME!"

I mean, WHAT. SERIOUSLY. SERIOUSLY. Also, who knew that in a dystopia, there was still an abundant amount of glitter? Sure, there's no food available but everyone can still look like they've just left the champagne room of a strip club.

The Deal:

Juliette hasn't touched a person in 262 263 264 days. Locked in a prison for a crime she didn't mean to commit, Juliette spends her days trapped in the ramblings of her own mind, gazing out at a sky which has been polluted to the color of disease. But when she gets a new cellmate - a boy who seems strangely familiar - she's torn between being overjoyed at the idea of talking to another person and terrified that he might find out her secret.

But Juliette's prison is soon traded for another one, as The Reestablishment - a group of totalitarian paramilitary bad guys who have established order in an increasingly dystopic world - decides to use her special gifts in order to extract information from members ofthe resistance. Trapped, Juliette can only trust her gut instincts . . . and a super hot guy.

BFF Charm: Yay!

FINALLY. It feels like too long since I've read a book where I really liked the protagonist. I think that a lot of people who read this book won't be willing to hang out in the caf with Juliette, and I understand that. But I really enjoyed delving into Juliette's fractured mind. The theory holds that what a human needs more than food, water or air is touch - that without contact with other humans we will eventually wither and die. Seeing that theory in practice with Juliette was compelling and heart breaking, but what I liked most about her was that she just rolled with the punches. She isn't a wallflower or a pushover, but neither is she some superhero badass who takes down whole armies by accident. She's believable and kind, but naturally suspicious of anyone who seems false.

That said, she could, in fact, kill me by touching me. So maybe we could be long-distance besties?

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Yeah, that's what I said. EIGHT, mofos! Mafi doesn't pussyfoot around with the swoon in this book, and even though there is a troubling amount of instalove between Juliette and Adam, it comes with bucketloads of almost-touches and hella-hot makeout sessions. This book gave me blue balls, y'all, and that isn't even a thing that really exists! And, oh yeah, I DON'T HAVE BALLS. But still!

And while I super-hate love triangles, this book almost had me wishing for one . . . WHICH IS CRAZY. But if the series progresses the way I think it might, and a certain person becomes a romantic interest. . . well, I wouldn't be too upset about it, is all I'm going to say.

Talky Talk: Stream Of Consciousness/Prosetastic

I think the actual writing in this book will be the deciding factor for most readers. It starts out with quite a bit of stream of consciousness syntax - repetitive phrases or words, crossed out lines, run-on sentences - all of which reflect Juliette's fractured mind. Deprived of human contact, conversation and activity, Juliette has been forced inside her own brain and Mafi's writing bears that out wonderfully. But just because it feels true to the character doesn't mean that style of writing will be palatable to the reader. I personally gave myself over to the writing, because I was interested enough in the plot and characters to see where the book would go, but I wouldn't blame someone for disliking this book because of the writing.

But when it's time to take this bookbeyond just Juliette's prison cell, the prose can err on the purple side. Luscious descriptions of scenery and motives are great, but they need to be organic to the story, and not just a way to make the story read "artistic." I really loved the book and thought it was a pretty amazing feat for a writer as young as Mafi - but I think she'll get even better as she getsa bit older and learns to blend her prose with a more factual, frank way of writing.

Bonus Factor: Ambiguous Bad Guy

Warner, the son of the leader of The Reestablishment, is a grade A douche - oily, skeevy, and patronizing. Yet Mafi does a great job at hinting at Warner's other side - scared, seeking his father's approval - that the reader can't help but to root for him a little bit. It doesn't hurt that Warner is legitimately funny and campy and, in my mind, super hot.

Bonus Factor: No Birds!

In this slightly-more-future-than-this dystopia, birds no longer fly in the sky. Much is made of how awful and sad this is and how it represents the dissolution of humanity's dreams or whatever, but I am here to say: GOOD. Fuck you, birds! I hate you, with your beady little eyes and sharp-ass beaks with which you can peck out people's eyeballs! I'm GLAD you can't fly! In fact, I hope every last one of you are caught as you waddle around on the ground and that some enterprising soul takes you home, plucks you, stuffs you with lemon and garlic and turns you into a roast dinner. Stupid flying assholes.

Casting Call:

When reading this book, for some reason I only had one person in mind:

Nina Dobrev as Juliette

I couldn't quite picture Adam, but Warner was a no brainer:

Alex Pettyfer as Warner

Relationship Status: Cautious Optimism

Listen, book, I've been down this road before. Some book takes me out, dazzles me with its fancy plans for a revolution and it all goes fine for a while - makeovers, fancy descriptions of food and kickass teenage girl protagonists. Butthen it all goes to shit after a year or two; bombs exploding, people becoming retrograde assholes, important dates being rushed through all in an effort to rush our love to the big screen. And it hurts, book, when things end up this way. It really, really hurts.

So while you're definitely giving me the tingles, I'm going to approach our new romance cautiously. I've been burned before, you know? That said, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to hang around by the phone waiting for you to call about our second date.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Shatter Me from BEA. I received neither mpney nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). Shatter Me is available in stores now.

Do you want a chance at going on a first date with this new series? Leave a comment below and I'll choose one person at random next Friday to receive a copy of this ARC!

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.
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