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Shatter Me: They changed her life, so she changed theirs


“They took everything. My life. My future. My sanity. My freedom.” In the dystopian future of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, the lingering effects of the old world mashed with what was rising left the air stale and bitter. It started with the food shortages, which led to job shortages, and then soon enough everyone who was once in power was nowhere to be found. That is when it happened. The reestablishment took over. Hopes of a new future painted the community on posters and hope filled the air. That was until it all began — the chaos that led to guns keeping people in line. Locking up the elderly, sick, and troubled. Forces fighting their way up, killing anyone who did not agree with the new world some of the few leaders were trying to create. There were no birds or epic scenery; instead, when the dust settled there was misery. Destroying everything to rebuild their image: new schools, new language, new priorities, new sections. Yet could they destroy Juliette Feras, the one the reestablishment was wanting to use as a weapon. Both scared and empowered, Juliette starts off as property of the establishment after an incident where a power she holds got exposed in ways she never knew was capable. Fear turns into empowerment, loneliness turns into alliance, and the impossible becomes possible. An empowering, on-edge action and romance-filled book creates a riveting start of this book series. This book deserves a 5/5 star rating for the creativity, the plot line, and originality.

As you read Shatter Me, do not be surprised when you find lines drawn through words in order to get the presence of being in the shoes of the main character as she tries getting rid of some thoughts while clinging to others, which is the first I have seen occur in a dystopian novel. Furthermore the aching in Juliette’s heart as well as the pride will course through you as you read the poetic lines merged with a regular prose-style narration of this novel. The text on page five says, “I always wonder about raindrops. I wonder how they’re always falling down, forgetting their parachutes as they tumble 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 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.” Lines similar to these are what makes reading worth it, because of the deeper meaning you can find. Everyone has once felt like they were plummeting in life, and Juliette is a character who people can relate to in a way. Tahereh Mafi  is able to make a story interesting by adding twists that the main character does not expect, along with giving us a visual into how the character is feeling in certain moments. Shatter Me is different from other dystopian novels, not only because of the poetic journal-style writing, but due to how personal it seems to get. It is not all filled with action; instead it finds a way to touch your soul. 

“The bird will be white with streaks of Gold like a crown atop its head” (Mafi 9). Throughout the book Juliette’s grasp onto hope is not the reestablishment, but a simple bird. One that she waits for as she stares out the small window of her cell as the minutes tick by slowly. The hope of a bird flying gets her through many triumphs; although this bird symbolizes much more than hope for a future, it resembles Juliette as a whole. It symbolizes freedom. Mafi uses this connection throughout the book to show how Juliette blossoms as she realizes she is enough. Later on in the book it states, “I’m the bird and I’m flying away.” Then on the cover of the book it states, “My touch is lethal.  My touch is power.” These quotes help us realize that this book is not only about romance and action, but it is about self-growth. Every metaphor Tahereh Mafi places adds to not only the plotline but the originality in her words. This bird even ties back into the cover of the book where a bird is seen in the eyes of Juliette as she realizes it is within her to become the person that can either save or break everything in this new world.
This is just the start to such a beautifully crafted book that is guaranteed to get you hooked after reading the first chapter. “My hands wrap around the gun. I feel him freeze. Pull back. I watch his face phase through frames of confusion/dread/anguish/horror/anger. He drops me to the floor just as my fingers pull the trigger for the very first time” (Mafi 258). What is the reestablishment’s main goal? How does Juliette fit into this? Where does romance, self growth, or action come into play? Read through the descriptive heart-churning words from the author to escape into a new world that will make you laugh, cry, and yell at the pages throughout Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi!

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Kirstin Guikema, Staff Writer

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