BOOK REPORT for Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi
Cover Story: Eyesore Rebooted
BFF Charm: Yay! + Be Mine
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: What Happens After
Bonus Factors: Warner, X-Men
Relationship Status: Friends with Benefits
~*~sPoILeR aLeRt~*~ This is your official warning that Restore Me is the fourth book in the Shatter Me series, and thus, this book report contains some major spoilerage for Shatter Me, Unravel Me, and Ignite Me. Continue at your own risk, babies.
Cover Story: Eyesore Rebooted
Four years ago (time flies when you're having fun!!!) when Posh reviewed Ignite Me, she called these covers, appropriately, eyesores. I had hoped that with four years of retrospection and a quick perusal of this blog, natch, the publishers of these books would surprise us with newer, better, less eyesore-y covers. But not only did they restore (get it?) the old covers, they gave this one cheap, drug-store fake feather eyelashes.
With the help of her boo-thang Warner, her bestie Kenji, and the motley crew from Castle's Underground Cave of Mutant Misfits, Juliette has officially killed Anderson, overthrown the government, and named herself supreme commander of this weird dystopian North America (the details of which we're all still a little fuzzy on). But, like, now what? Juliette's a 17-year-old girl with zero leadership abilities. Tbh she's not even super well-versed in, like, talking to people. How the heck is she supposed to lead a whole damn country? To make matters worse, things are a bit tense with Warner - partially because Juliette murdered his dad, but mostly due to the weird power dynamic happening between them. Juliette wants to lead, despite not knowing how, while Warner wants to respect Juliette, despite the fact that he's spent his entire life training to lead.
To make everything even MORE complicated, the supreme commanders from other vague regions/countries/continents around the world are preying on Juliette's weaknesses by sending their spawn to spy on her, and, oh yeah, turns out Castle had some *pertinent* information about Juliette's origin story - details he shared with Warner, who is now forced to drop a major bomb on Juliette's history.
But hey, at least she doesn't murder everyone she touches anymore!
BFF Charm: Yay!
Let's be honest, Juliette was like the second-to-worst character in the first couple of books. She was so weak and sad and fragile, and yeah, okay, maybe she had reason to be that way because her life had historically been pretty bad. But by the third book, and thanks in large part to Warner, she started to buck up a bit. Of course, she's thrown back into poutyville in Restore Me, but this time, she makes the decision to no longer give one single fuck, and watching Bad Ass Juliette emerge from her coccoon was IN-CRED-IB-LY satisfying.
OH HEY GUESS WHAT! Half this book is from WARNER'S POINT OF VIEW. And yeah, you're still gonna want to jump them bones, even if he's a little emo about his current situation.
Swoonthworthy Scale: 8
Four years hasn't changed a whole lot: Juliette and Warner still have insane sexual chemistry, and they most definitely act on it. Was Restore Me as panty-melting as its predecessors, Unravel Me and Ignite Me? Probably not. But only because Juliette and Warner's sexy moments are like "We're In a Relationship Now" sexy moments, which are delightful, but lack the will-they-won't-they-omg-just-do-it-already tensions that the previous books had.
Talky Talk: What Happens After
While writing this report, I pulled up Posh's review of Ignite Me and found this comment, from myself, from four years ago before I even wrote for FYA:
I'm glad that I am not the only one who thinks that Warner is the saving (sexy) grace of these books, because srsly, who cares about literally anything else in them? I can't even remember the name of the second book and I'm READING IT RIGHT NOW. I turn a blind eye to Juliette's supes annoying narration and general self-loathing (when, C'MON GIRL, you were born to be bad! DEAL WITH IT) and pretend like the story isn't basically X-Men in the Sad Future all for the sake of Warner.
The good news: Juliette no longer speaks in that weird, annoying prose and as previously mentioned, she finally decides to chill on the self-hate. We get half a book from Warner's POV, and we get to go where so few YA books have gone before - to the after party. That is, for every YA book where a teenage bad ass overthrows her tyrannical government, we almost never see what happens after that. It was interesting to see two literal teenagers try to figure out how to lead a whole continent while still being teenagers with crazy amounts of Feelings and Hormones.
The bad news: I'll discuss this more below, but honestly, the pacing was majorly slow. I kept waiting for the action to kick in, and then I realized I was 75% through the book. When the Thing That Happened finally happened, it was worth the wait, but this book really feels like an introduction for the next book.
Bonus Factor: Warner
Yes, I'm giving Warner his own Bonus Factor. He fine. Deal with it.
Bonus Factor: X-Men
I'm assuming that if you've made it this far into this series, you've picked up on the heavy X-Men vibes. Well, Juliette may have learned how to control her mutant powers, but now she's maybe discovering some new ones? So yeah, don't think for one second that Restore Me has lost its X-Men feel.
Our girl Tahereh didn't just write a new Shatter Me book, she's writing a whole new Shatter Me series. So if you love Warner (you do), get ready for a wild three-book ride that will probably span three or more years to release (wah wahhhh). But as previously mentioned, this book was by no means a stand-alone. Yes, it had a cliffhanger ending, but the whole thing felt like it was laying the foundation for the next two books and had very little action on its own.
Relationship Status: Friends With Benefits
Book, I'm sort of ambivalent about you. You have, at times, been hard to put down, and when things are hot, they are SMOKING between us. So I'll send you a suggestive text when I'm in a sexy mood, but you still have a lot of things to figure out about yourself before I'm willing to call it ~*~ true love ~*~.
FTC Full Disclosure: I did not receive money or Girl Scout cookies of any kind (not even the lame cranberry ones) for writing this review. Restore Me is available now.