About once a month I ask myself the same question, “Why do I do this?” I am (of course) referring to reviewing. See…I LOVE books. I could do away with every other form of entertainment and be completely satisfied as long as a library or book store was close at hand, but as with most “jobs” (and I use that term very loosely) reviewing comes with a downside, (a couple in fact) the biggest being that it takes much more to “move” me.
I used to be easily captivated by a book, regardless of how mundane or average it was, but now…after reading, well…too many damn books to keep track of, it takes a real diamond in the rough to tickle my fancy.
When…however, one of these books DOES come along, I am instantly reminded of why it is I do this; to lead YOU (my lovely readers) to the light. At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done I do this “job” for 1 reason and 1 reason only: to introduce you to awe-worthy books you may have never even considered reading before.
So… with that 1 reason in mind, let me tell you a little about “Shatter Me” by Tehereh Mafi.
“You can’t touch me,” I whisper. I’m lying, is what I don’t tell him. He can touch me, is what I’ll never tell him. But things happen when people touch me. Strange things. Bad things. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.”
Knowing that I’m not talented enough to do this book justice I’ve decided to write this review a little differently than normal. Instead of me going on and on about the writing style, (and confusing you more than enlightening you.) I’ve decided to use quotes directly from the book to illustrate my points. That said…I’m certain that I’ll still ramble more than is necessary (kind of like I’m doing now *cough*)
To the point.
Aside from Ms. Mafi being all of 23 (and this being her debut novel) the most impressive aspect to this book is the writing style. Huh? Well, in the simplest of terms it is “not generic.” Most authors strive for conformity when writing, sentence structure, subjective descriptives and leading passages. (etc) but Mafi pretty much said, “to hell with all of that.” Instead of reading what the lead (Juliette) said/thought (either or) we are given both. Simultaneously.
“I want to be bigger, better, stronger.
I want to beangry-angry-angry. I want to be the bird that flies away. “What are you writing?” Cellmate speaks again. These words are vomit.This shaky pen is my esophagus. This sheet of paper is my porcelain bowl.“Why won’t you answer me?” He’s too close too close too close.”
Notice the repetition? That is Mafi’s way of illustrating distress. This little quirk alone sucks the reader into a state of panic that mimics that of Juliette’s. The striked wording is her “original” thought and the “plain” text is what she “ought to think.” For the record…the entire books is written this way, and as a result makes the actual dialogue that much more fascinating.
Now, if the shift in language skills wasn’t enough to convince you, (which it was for me) how about we take a quick looksy at Mafi’s amazing imagery.
“I wish I could stuff my mouth full of raindrops and fill my pockets full of snow. I wish I could trace the veins in a fallen leaf and fell the wind pinch my nose.
Instead, I ignore the desperation sticking my fingers together and watch for the bird I’ve only seen in my dreams. Birds used to fly, is what they stories say. Before the ozone layer deteriorated, before the pollutants mutated the creatures into something
In most novels this type of flouncy writing would concern me, but in “Shatter Me” it just fit. The plot seemed to wrap itself comfortably around the poem-esq paragraphs and transport the reader into something much more beautiful than just a book with hundreds of words. As for the plot itself?
The back cover says “The Hunger Games” meets “X-Men” and though I rarely agree with these (more often than not) hyped up blurbs….this one is on the money. The story is nothing short of fantastic and the journey is well worth the 343 pages of heart-pounding agony that the writing invokes.
This book has moved up to the very top of my ranks, and I urge you to grab yourself a copy when it goes on sale tomorrow.
And what the hey…why not one more quote for the road?
“I tried so hard to fix what I’d ruined. I tried every single day to be what they wanted. I tried all the time to be better but I never really knew how. I only know now that the scientists are wrong. The world is flat. I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I’ve been trying to hold on for seventeen years. I’ve been trying to climb back up for seventeen years but it’s nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand. When no one wants to risk touching you.”
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Insane is a relative term.
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