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Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi will be released in the U.S. on November 15, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by HarperCollins, the print edition is 352 pages.

Shatter Me is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

Goodreads description:

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.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting asThe Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices,Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

***

What would you do if your touch had the power to kill? If hugging you, kissing you, loving you could be fatal?

How would you feel if you were never shown any kindness? If your very existence caused people to turn away in fear, in revulsion?

What if you were locked away, isolated from all human contact, would you allow yourself to become the monster that everyone thought you to be?

Would you let it break you? Would you let it shatter you? Or would you fight back?

***

Shatter Me is an incredibly powerful, astonishingly beautiful and amazingly seductive love story that is woven into every moment of author Tahereh Mafi’s exciting debut novel set in a bleak dystopian future where resources are running out, people are scared and dying, and the Reestablishment is looking to maintain total control.

At the center of this story that shows the resilience of the human spirit and the heart’s capacity for love is Juliette Ferrars. A girl whose touch can kill. A girl who has been locked up, in isolation, for a crime she didn’t mean to commit. An accident that branded her a freak and one which nearly destroyed her.

A girl who until now everyone wanted to forget existed. Including her parents. Especially herself. Who everyone nearly did forget existed for a very long time.

Time enough for her to forget what she looked like and how she sounded. Time for her to doubt every thought, every idea that formed inside her head.

But that all changed when those in power realized just how valuable her lethal touch could be. How they could use her as a weapon, an instrument of torture, against those who stood against them. How they saw her for the monster she was, the monster she knew herself to be.

Everyone, that is, except Adam.

Shatter Me is written in a style that is undoubtedly different, unfailingly beautiful and one that is rather extraordinary. The main character Juliette’s thoughts are presented in a way that shows, rather than describes, just how fragile, delicate and vulnerable she is and when she becomes less so.

While the idea of a future in which society is controlled by a militant regime, where the landscape has been ravaged by humans who chose to ignore the earth’s capacity to renew itself, and where overpopulation and overcrowding have allowed illness and disease to run rampant is not a new idea, author Tahereh Mafi’s simply beautiful writing made this story unique.

The love story is balanced out by the nail-biting, nerve-wracking and action-packed events that take this story to its conclusion, making Shatter Me a book that is unputdownable. It is a story that is wonderfully heartwarming and uplifting and one that will leave you anxiously awaiting the sequel, but won’t leave you stranded on the edge of a cliff.

Reviewer gives this book

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note:

This book rendered me speechless. Utterly speechless. For days. I couldn’t find any words to describe just how amazingly gorgeous this book was. I’m not even sure I can right now. And before I could even think about putting my words to paper I had to read the book a second time.

The writing was so breathtakingly, achingly beautiful. I don’t think I’ve encountered writing that hit me in quite the same way that the writing in this book did.

I literally couldn’t catch my breath – I still can’t just thinking about it. For the first three-fourths of the book it felt as if there was a weight pressing on my chest, leaving me gasping with every thought that Juliette had or refused to have. She shattered my heart into so many pieces.

She was just so fragile and broken, but she wasn’t defeated even though almost anyone else would have been. You could see that tiny spark of hope in her and you wanted it to ignite. You wanted her to have hope. You wanted things to be better. You wanted someone to save her. You wanted her to save herself. She made you root for her. She made you love her.

Oh and then there was Adam. Adam with the midnight blue eyes. I have so much to say about him, but I’m at a loss for words on just how to do it without giving everything away.

Adam is everything. Everything he is and everything he did made me love him. I would get to the point where I didn’t think it was possible to love him any more and then I did.

He would do something or say something that would just steal away another piece of my heart. Sometimes it was just the little things, like the way he looked at Juliette, and sometimes it was so much more, like when he would reveal something about his past. Adam really is her Romeo, only better.

But it was the writing that blew me away. The run-on thoughts and sentences and crossed out words were things I thought would distract me. I didn’t expect to like them let alone to love them so much I couldn’t imagine this story without them.

I didn’t expect to have my heart ripped out for every crossed-out thought that Juliette chose not to allow herself to say or even think. But it was. I didn’t think I would love the repeated words and ideas as Juliette tripped and stumbled over them in her mind. But I loved those, and her because of them, even more.

And I loved how the writing changed as Juliette changed, slowly, subtly at first, and then much more noticeably, growing in confidence as she found her voice. Until she no longer censored any of her thoughts except maybe just the one.

But this wasn’t simply stunning, exquisite writing and an alarmingly beautiful love story. It was so much more. And in that last quarter of the book, this other part to the story grew wings and really started to take flight, for which I am extremely grateful.

Without this shift from the gorgeous writing that so completely tore me to pieces, I think I would literally have died or at the very least hyperventilated. In this last section of the story the momentum really picked up and the plot took a very interesting turn, setting things up for the next book which I am absolutely dying to find out more about.

I can’t believe I’ve had my hands on a copy all this time and I hadn’t read it until last week. I think if I had known about just how truly exceptional, amazing and unique this story was when I first got my hands on it, I would have already read it several times. But it would have not been any easier to write this review.

I could read this book a hundred times and the effect this book had on me wouldn’t diminish. I can honestly say that if I never read Shatter Me again, it would still be a book that I could never forget for the rest of my life. But I will be reading this book again and again and again.

***

There is no way I could pick my favorite lines or passages because I would have to pick almost every single line in the first three-fourths of the story and at least half of them in the last quarter. And so very many of them are revealing. But I managed to find one that didn’t give too much away.

His eyes scan the silhouette of my structure and the slow motion makes my heart race. I catch the rose petals as they fall from my cheeks, as they float around the frame of my body, as they cover me in something that feels like the absence of courage.

***

Shatter Me is the first book in a new trilogy by author Tahereh Mafi.

To get a peek at the first chapter, check out the Shatter Me Facebook page, HERE.

Book trailer for Shatter Me:

This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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