Collab Review! Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”

~Juliette Ferrars, Shatter Me

Hello! Again, we’re so sorry that we didn’t post for so long. Because of that, we have a very special collaboration review in store. Shatter Me is Tahereh Mafi’s first novel.

(photo by K)

Synopsis: Tahereh Mafi

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.

Review:   ★★ 2.8 stars

K: Usually, I love most books, especially romance ones. I can mostly deal with any sort of romance, but this was was a bit… too much, if you know what I mean. This book can basically be described as a free write, where metaphors, similes, and useless idioms are bounced around without a single thought if it was used correctly. Not to mention the abysmal grammar. I get that she pretty much went crazy in that little room, but I’m basically the biggest grammar nazi and argh. To be honest, some of it is just kind of dumb. While describing Adam’s eyes, Juliette says that they’re “blue blue blue” and “2 buckets of rainwater.” We get it, his eyes are blue! I can’t count how many times that she repeats repeats repeats the things she says over and over again just for the emphasis.

M: I can’t say enough about the way this book was written. The candidness and description of the dystopian setting and plot gives me the urge to jump out and sing about the goodness in the plot. I have so many suspicions about each character, like that just maybe Juliette is PECULIAR! (hey, Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi are married, anyway). Yet, Shatter Me had numerous downsides. I’d have to agree with K on the subject of romance. Though it is a YA novel, it was a bit overwhelming to read. On the spectrum of appropriateness, this novel, and actually, this whole trilogy, was slightly tipping to the adult fiction genre. Also, I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that Mafi had to constantly emphasize that Adam Kent was “beautiful”. WE GET IT! SO STOP DESCRIBING ADAM AS THIS HOLY ANGEL IN JULIETTE’S DARKNESS!

K: I usually don’t read adult fiction so this book was pretty disturbing for me T_T Oh well. Anyways, I still need to complain about the world building. Oh, wait. THERE WAS NO FREAKING WORLD BUILDING!! Nothing was really explained in this book. Where did Juliette get her powers? How far is this in the future? Where even is this book located?

M: I can’t say the same. In the past, I was more interested in adult crime novels. Don’t blame me, the children’s books weren’t scary enough. 🏳 It’s set on futuristic Earth after something major took place, destroying the planet and creating a living apocalypse. That’s why the Reestablishment is trying to “reform” human society to help desolate Earth recover to its original state.

K: heh ;; Looks like I wasn’t paying attention during the first third of the book. I still find it weird how the only two romantic interests are the only two people that Juliette can touch. Wow! Such a coincidence! I also kinda hated the “love at first sight” part where Juliette and Adam first meet and BOOM instant love. Anyways, I’m pretty much done with complaining. Let’s move on to the parts I actually liked!

  1. Warner is pretty hot
  2. The covers are so pretty! Not sure what it is supposed to symbolize, but it’s cool either way.
  3. This quote: “I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships, I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts, and images altogether. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”

M: For one, I enjoy the philosophical aspects to all the quotes in Shatter Me. For example,

The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”

Why does Tahereh Mafi have to describe humans in such an accurate way?! The well-written, perfectly relatable entries like the example makes me love the book more. Another is how the book is basically Juliette’s second journal, particularly, the realistic strikethroughs. It still doesn’t cancel out any of the problems, though. 

K: I can’t argue that the book brings in the deeper meanings to life. However, not everyone feels alone, and not everyone is evil in some way. The book highlights the nefarious parts of what it is to be human, and it really makes you stop and think. This book isn’t particularly one of those books where I’m enthusiastically telling you that you must read it. However, it could be a particularly enjoyable book for some, and even with its flaws, this was still one of the more unique books I have ever read.

M: I highly recommend reading only if you want to kill some extra time.  Despite the many flaws that Shatter Me has, I hope you enjoy the book (if you ever  read it), and the rest of the trilogy (which is much better). See you soon, and don’t forget to read! 👋 📚

~M and

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