I had mixed feelings about this dystopian novel about a girl with a deadly touch. Incarcerated for her terrible power, the government of her futuristic society wants to use her as a weapon– but she has other plans. I loved the writing, but I didn’t particularly enjoy the direction that the plot went in. The romantic relationship was too overbearing and the protagonist, Juliette, experienced little to no character development.
My least favorite thing about this book was the love triangle. When I began reading the book, I was excited to read a book about a girl who couldn’t touch anyone, but as I continued reading, I realized that the story was truly about a strange, domineering relationship. Every time that Juliette and her love interest, Adam, are together, they are either kissing or touching. As the romance becomes the center of the novel, the internal dilemma that Juliette faces (coming to terms with her past) and the external pressure she encounters (deciding if she will help the government) becomes the subplot.
One of the things that I enjoyed about this book was Tahereh’s writing. Although it was slightly exaggerated at certain points, there were definitely passages that stuck out. Mafi is an incredible writer with an immense amount of talent. The novel reads like poetry, it is lyrical and rhythmic, and though I enjoyed the repetition, the use of strikethroughs were a little distracting and some of the metaphors used were farfetched. I would’ve preferred it if Mafi wrote in a more conventional style for this novel and saved her skills for future projects.
Overall, this book wasn’t the right book for me. Instead of being the action-packed dystopian novel I anticipated, the plot increasingly focused on the romance between Juliette and Adam. If that’s what your looking for, then this book just may be the book for you.
I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction. (p. 70)
-Mariah W., 11th grade