Book Review: Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi

shatter_me_coverI 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.

Favorite quote:

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

Event Recap: Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess Tour

cassandra_clare_mariah_picIn March, authors Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson made a stop at the Mission Viejo Library for Clare’s latest release, Clockwork Princess.

I was extremely thrilled to meet all of them, and the feeling was definitely echoed throughout the room. As we waited for the authors to arrive (they got caught up in LA traffic), we watched the book and the movie trailer, and in two contests, fans competed for posters of, Will and Jem, popular characters from Clare’s books.

Once the authors arrived, they jumped right into answering our questions about their books and the upcoming City of Bones film.

Here are a couple of them:

Cassandra Clare, where did you get the inspiration for your books?

She got the idea of Shadowhunter from one of her friends who was a tattoo artist and talked to her about the history about tattoos. They were believed to give people strength in battle and during journeys, and Clare thought that it would be cool if there was a race of people for whom these tattoos would actually work.

What characters are the three of you most like?

After thinking the question over for a moment, they agreed that Sarah is like Magnus Bane because of her fiery personality, Maureen is the most similar to Alec, and Cassie was compared to Jace because of her ability to “have a little faith” like he does in times of trouble.

They then moved on to lightning round:

Who do you like more: Tessa or Clary?

She couldn’t decide between the two. Tessa is more like her, but she admires Clary for her bravery and recklessness.

Do you all eat, or do you survive solely on the tears of your readers? (This seemed to be a recurring question.)

Clare responded by saying that she likes to take the hearts of her readers and put it in a cocktail glass and make a heartini.

How much involvement do you, Cassie, have in the film adaptation?

She has had a good amount of input into the film. She answered questions that the production team had, and she had a heavy involvement in the casting process.

Once the Q&A session was complete, we were able to get our books signed! Overall, the event was one of the best signing that I’ve attended. All three of the authors were incredibly funny and kept me laughing the entire night. They joked about the ways they toy with our emotions and all of the wonderful boys in the Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series. It was an honor to meet all three of the authors, and I want to thank them for visiting Mission Viejo.

-Mariah W., 11th grade