Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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I was surprised by Shatter Me. It's a young adult dystopian novel with the classic formula: a young teen girl with a special ability; a loyal, loving, and, if we're being honest, somewhat useless male sidekick; and a Big Evil who rose to power through fear and deception. I walked into Shatter Me expecting this formula, so this wasn't the surprising part.

What surprised me, then? My curiosity with the story.

I've read a lot of young adult trilogies with this same formula, so it is pretty hard to surprise me. I can appreciate the story and the characters, but I ultimately know how it will turn out. The thing with Shatter Me is that I'm not exactly sure how this story will turn out. I'm not sure how Juliette's power will become a strength and help her defeat the Big Evil. I'm not sure if Adam--the loyal and useless male sidekick I mentioned before--will remain Juliette's beau throughout the whole book series. And I'm especially not sure if Warner--the Big Evil--is really so evil. Honestly, there has been very little evidence to support these thoughts of mine, but there are subtle hints in the writing that maybe things aren't as they seem. THIS has been refreshing. This curiosity propelled me through the first book and I'm sure will continue to push me through the second and third.

My only complaint is the writing style. It felt overly flowery at times, almost melodramatic. It was the textbook definition of purple prose. Other times, though, the descriptions opened my eyes to the scene. Painted a picture that stayed with me after I closed the pages. Descriptions like:

"I always wonder about raindrops.

I wonder about how they're always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It's like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn't seem to care where the contents fall, doesn't seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.

I am a raindrop."

For every problem I had, there was something else drawing me in. That should make this book a wash--a 5 out of 10 on my scale. But somehow, this book lodged itself in my brain and refused to leave. I wouldn't say it's a favorite and I wouldn't adamantly recommend it to anyone who didn't already like dystopian novels, but it's still worth reading.

Happy Reading,

Mallory