Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.

Shatter Me

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi I nabbed an advance copy of Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me last weekend at Comic-Con, as I was interviewing her for an article I was writing, and she was the only author whose work I hadn't read that I was interviewing.I proceeded to read the entire book in a single day, and I still haven't finished transcribing our interview.I'll be honest; I've heard some comments about the book. The writing is very stylized. It capitalizes on the young adult dystopian trend that has grown after the success of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games.I don't remember reading Hunger Games in a day.Shatter Me begins with Juliette, imprisoned in an asylum. We know next to nothing about her -- not why she's there, not why she can't, or won't touch people, not why she's been there for so long. We know that she's in isolation, that she touches no one, and she hasn't spoken in 264 days. Then her world is turned upside down when another person is thrust into her solitary world: a boy. We are as disoriented as she is, because we don't know who he is or why he is there. Does she know him? Does he know her? Is he there for a reason? It's difficult to review Shatter Me without revealing spoilers, and yet it isn't, for at every moment, you have no idea which end is up. Mafi is so masterful at making the reader feel Juliette that you end up being Juliette. Right through to the last paragraphs, you are still not entirely certain who can and cannot be trusted, which direction she should or should not turn. While I don't write young adult novels, I read an awful lot because of my precious reader. Of all of them, this is the one that sticks out most in my mind as making me most feel most in touch with being that age again: the paralyzing loneliness. Being unsure every second if I was making the right or the wrong decision. Feeling like everything -- every decision -- would lead me in the wrong direction, or that I was misinterpreting everything everyone was saying. Most of all, Juliette has a physical manifestation of what every teen has felt at some point or another. It is excruciatingly, painfully, spelled out for the reader and draws us to her in such a way that you can't help but identify with her and her power, because we've all felt like it at one point or another. It's a simple way of making the reader feel for Juliette, and is stunning in that simplicity. I'm left wishing I were that smart in my writing. And dying to know what will happen next.

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