Next-in-Reading #39: Shatter Me

Next In Reading

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Year: 2011

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

After being locked up for most of her teenage years, Juliette Ferrars finally gets a chance to interact with another person. The only problem is this – she refuses to touch anyone. The moment she was taken away from her family, she knew that her touch was dangerous, lethal, and at that moment, she withdrew, determined not to hurt another.

Shatter Me is the first of a trilogy about Juliette and her battle against her powers and the Reestablishment, a future dystopian organisation pushing itself as the last platform of humanity’s salvation, though they have been torturing, murdering, and ostracizing civilians who were perceived as threats or non-conformists. Having accidentally killed a toddler in an attempt to help him, Juliette was quickly put through hospitals, asylums, and detention centres in fear that she will continue to murder others. Until she meets Adam, her childhood love, and Warner, a power-hungry, high-level soldier intent on using her powers for his own purposes.

Mafi’s unique style of storytelling in this series breaks rules many editors will have a field day trying to cross out. Told in first person, she engages in repetition and quick switches in formatting in order to jerk the reader into Juliette’s world. As disengaged as she is from the rest of the world, the reader will be able to experience how it’s like to be screaming into the void.

At the same time, the shift in format can get a bit of getting used to, especially when words can break in the middle of the sentence. However, Mafi’s fast pace makes it easy to pick up, and her environment and focus on a single few characters ensure a good amount of focus already placed there for the reader.

Shatter Me takes a different approach from many dystopian Young Adult novels I have read – the protagonist does not start out strong, literally groping her way through the story and mostly reacting, and yet, she manages to find that glimmer of hope and come out stronger.

The Shatter Me series is written by Tahereh Mafi. To find out more about her and her works, click here.

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