Shatter Me

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

I spent most of the book confused about various things in the book.

 

Why does everyone think Juliette is crazy when she clearly has a supernatural ability that is very obviously not in her head? (Not that I don't think she isn't crazy, but her craziness seems to only manifest in an overuse of nonsensical metaphors in her thoughts. She doesn't do anything that demonstrates outward craziness, so her label of 'psycho chick' makes no sense.)

 

What exactly happened to bring about the failed world that now exists? How does it even work? There's not enough resources, and people regularly starve, except, wait... Someone had groceries (which included bananas) that they just randomly leave in their car to run into their house. If this is really a world where people regularly starve to death, no one would just leave their groceries in their car just because they were told to go into their house. They would take the food in with them. Also, where did they even get the groceries?

 

If everyone is so obsessed with Juliette, why was she locked up for so long? And on that note, why is everyone so obsessed with her? I can understand wanting to study her, but that's not what people are trying to do. They either want to cure her or use her. She's immune to radiation. Why wouldn't you want to study that? And as far as using her goes, her skills are only so useful. She doesn't have any range, so her use as a weapon is limited. And torture isn't the most effective way to get information, so she's only so useful there. Plus, people are perfectly capable of torturing someone without superpowers.

 

Those were some of my big questions, but I had plenty more. The concept of the book was interesting, but it didn't seem to have been thought out very much. There wasn't much of an overarching plot. Juliette never seemed to have a goal in mind that was worked toward. Well, beyond being with Adam. And I didn't even like the romance at all. Their obsession with one another was annoying. They didn't seem to truly care about anything beyond each other. There was superficial care for people in general and Adam's little brother, but that concern always seemed to be an afterthought. Adam's little brother seemed to be forgotten at the end of the book. I was honestly hoping that Adam was only pretending to love her and was part of a secret organization that was planning on using her as a secret weapon. But no luck.

 

Juliette was said to be crazy, but as I said, she didn't act at all in a crazy way. Her thoughts were the only indication of craziness, but her actions seemed normal. While I like the idea of a crazy main character whose head we get to be in, Juliette wasn't crazy beyond the overuse of weird metaphors. If the metaphors were the method used to indicate her craziness, I didn't particularly like it. I would have rather seen her craziness manifest in actual visible quirks so that we have an understandable reason why other people call her psycho. Being able to hurt/kill with your touch has nothing to do with your mental state (although the consequences of that ability would almost certainly have an effect on your mental state).

 

The only character that seemed to be truly psychotic was Warner, the head of a sector of the evil government. How he has the amount of power that he does while being so incredibly obsessed with Juliette is impressive. A story from Warner's point of view could have made an interesting, if creepy, story. As long as being redeemed by love wasn't the direction the book was going for. I would have happily read a book from the point of view of an obsessed psychotic stalker who has to balance his obsession with maintaining control of his troops. Sadly, that wasn't what I got to read.

 

Overall, it was an interesting concept, but it just didn't work in this book. The world didn't seem to be thought out, and any chance of it being expanded on was passed over in favor of focusing on a romance that just didn't work for me.