Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Published: HarperCollins

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. - Goodreads.com

I almost didn't buy this book initially because I thought I wouldn't like it.  I actually stood in the bookstore waffling, carried it and some others around the store for about an hour, even put it down at one point, and then finally bought it after all.  What an idiot I would have been if I hadn't picked it back up.  I'm about to go fangirl on you, so just remember, you've been warned.

This book was absolutely, 150% captivating.  I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it.  This is the kind of book, in my opinion, that other authors are probably envious that they didn't think of it or write it.  The story itself was actually fairly simple.  Not simple in terms of not having much going on, just simple in that it was not an overly complicated plot.  The conflict is pretty straightforward, and I've even seen it done before in another book... the whole concept of a person's mere touch having some sort of negative impact.  Look at the X-Men's Rogue... her touch leached the powers from others around her.  Anyway, I said all that to say that what set this book apart was the depth of its characters, the concept behind how it was written, and the beauty of the author's writing. 

First, the characters... Juliette, Alex and Warren are the main characters in this story, and they are so real, so vivid, so expressive.  You had to love them, even the bad one.  Their interactions together were electric.  The intensity of Juliette's emotional and internal struggles were so amazing.  The love story was touching and strong, and it built so well, so naturally, that you were just swept away by it.

Additionally, I have never seen a book written in this way.  The story is told in first person narrative by Juliette, and her inner thought process is so heartbreaking.  You get the feeling though that these are all words being written down by her, as some are crossed out.  It doesn't take long to figure out that the words that are crossed out are things she truly feels and tries to make prettier, more PC, or just less bare, by re-phrasing.  It was the most unique thing I've ever seen. 

The writing itself was raw, but so beautiful and polished and full of expression.  It made you feel so intensely as you read it.  It's probably one of the most beautifully crafted stories I've ever read.  I absolutely can't wait to read more stories by this author.  This is what I call a phenomenally impactful debut.  Wow.  That's all I can say.
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