Friday, July 8, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I am at a loss for words...

Yes, I claim to be a writer. So admitting this ineptitude is quite embarrassing.

But facts are facts... I am struggling. How can I do justice to Tahereh Mafi's debut novel with the limited words that I have at my disposal? I'm not sure that I have the talent nor ability to properly express my enthusiasm over this brilliant book.

I received the ARC on Wednesday July 6th. That was a tough day for me. With only a few chapters of editing to go with my new manuscript, I did not want to be distracted. My wife was waiting to read the story, and so was someone else (who will remain anonymous for now). Like I said, no distractions.

By Thursday evening I was done with my manuscript, and by 10 PM I gave myself permission to peek at Shatter Me. No, I was not going to read it on a Thursday night. That would be irresponsible. I had a conference call at 6 AM the next morning. Beyond irresponsible, that would be silly. The plan was that I would start reading it on Friday and enjoy it over the weekend. It was a good plan. As I said, all I was going to do was... you know, take a peek.

At 3:21 AM, I was on page 239, the start of chapter thirty-five. The Editorial Director at Harper Collins used the word "unputdownable." That's not a marketing line. It's a warning. A promise. I had to set it down. But when I came back home from work, I started to devour the novel. I read it standing up in the kitchen, leaning on the hood of my car, sprawled on my mother-in-law's floor. I had to finish it. I had to.

The newly revealed cover... sweet
Yes, this YA Paranormal/Dystopian/Romance/Suspense novel it is that good. No, I take that back. It's better than that. It's a voyage.

The journey starts with her dedication sentence. I don't know if I'm allowed to share it with you--so I won't. But the words she uses, the sentiment she portrays, and the poetic rhythm that is captured in that one sentence alone told me that I was in for a ride. [In fact, when my wife read that line, she tried to take the book away from me. Don't worry, we've worked it out. We have an agreement: when she finishes her husband's manuscript (that would be my manuscript) then she may read another person's novel (I had to put my foot down!)].

So what can I tell you about Shatter Me, without spoiling the story?

I can tell you that Tahereh creates characters that are deep, complex, thoughtful, evil, dangerous, wonderful, lovable, hatable.

I can tell you that these characters transform into real people by... oh somewhere around... page 1.

I can tell you that the dialogue is deep, multi-faceted, funny, hurtful, but always crisp and painfully honest.

I can tell you that the plot grabs your heart and forces the blood to pump faster and eventually explode through your veins.

I can tell you that the use of language, the vivid words she uses will forever etch the images in your mind's eye.

I can tell you that the romance is full of passion and heart, but never gratuitous and always on fire.

But all of this is still not enough. The only way you'll really understand is if you read it. And you must.

There's one other thing that I must mention. Tahereh Mafi's writing style is extraordinary. Nearly supernatural.

There is a beat, a rhythm to her writing. It's an orchestration of images. At one point, my heart was beating with the same cadence as her writing. The writing is fluid and viscous. It changes, alters, pushes, pulls, burns and cools. But at all times, it hooks. The talons sink deep into the reader.

But alas, the news isn't all good.

For one, since this is a trilogy, it means that I will have to wait for heaven knows how long before I read part II.

And lastly, my ARC isn't autographed by this brilliant debut author who, in my humble opinion, will soon (should be, must be) be the talk of both the publishing and entertainment worlds. I think I understand now what agents mean, when they talk about that indescribable moment when they realize that they have solid gold in their hands. She is golden.

I have a sense of longing right now. I miss the story. I miss the characters. I miss the erratic heart rhythms I experienced as I read it. My only solace is that I will be able to talk to my wife about it once she reads it. I feel like I belong to a special cult. Like I know something that others don't know, yet.... but their time will come. Your time will come.

Fight the good fight!


Shatter Me will be released November of 2011. The synopsis and the trailer are posted below. Check it out, then pre-order it.

Tahereh Mafi's blog:

Click Me! Easily one of the best out there. You owe it to yourself to follow it (see I even have it in my blog roll, waaaay over there --->

The Synopsis:
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

The Teaser Trailer:


  1. I am SO excited to read SHATTER ME. I don't have an ARC though, so I have to wait until the fall.

    Awesome review, I can't wait CAN'T WAIT to read it. It's killer.

    What makes this even more awesome is just how amazing Tahereh is. You follow her on Twitter, don't you? She's a very nice, humble, funny follow. Love it. :D

  2. Hi Ava, Thank you as always.

    Yes, I absolutely follow her on Twitter. One of the first people I started following way back when. Her blog and twitter spitfires are part of a healthy writer's diet. I wish more people were as humble as her. I don't think she could be a snob is she tried :) A lot of her personality comes through in her book. And in the acknowledgment section, you get that there's something special about her. She even thanks her blogging and twitter friends.


  3. Hi Ara! I know this is from a long time ago, and you might not see this comment, but is there any possibility that you would be willing to trade this ARC of Shatter Me? I’m in love with Tahereh Mafi and her books, and I would be so thrilled if this would be possible so I can add to my collection; I would be more than happy to trade or buy you anything! Thank you so much! If this is possible, please let me know, through email (arcticbookss (at) or Twitter @arcticbookss!


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