I came upon Tahereh Mahi by looking for a book to follow up Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – a book about a dystopian future, made for young adults, featuring a love story and a chase by the government, a story about star-crossed lovers like “The Hunger Games”.
The first book of his quintology is called “Shatter me”.
“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.
I must say I loved this book. Unexpectedly. I was waiting to see something dragged from the gutter and showcased as literature for teens and instead I got characters, development, drama, and a love triangle. I love Juliette to pieces for her spunk, her conviction, her goodness, her strength and her perseverance. I love Adam for his devotion, his courage, his honor, his tattoos, and his sacrifices. And I love them together. Their romance is just sigh-inducingly, bone-meltingly wonderful.
I love that Tahereh constructed a singular voice for Juliette that at once showcases her tenuous grasp on sanity with such a unique perspective of reality – her almost emotional attachment to time and numbers, especially – while also being achingly beautiful, heartbreaking and lyrical. It’s the kind of thing I could read forever and a day.
The sun is an arrogant thing, always leaving the world behind when it tires of us.
The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.
But anyway, yes. I really love most things about this book; however, in other areas it fell a little short of what I expected. Specifically, in regard to Warner’s relationship with Juliette. While I totally understand his obsession attachment to her, I never saw understood her seemingly unfounded emotional responses to him. There wasn’t enough development there, and mostly because I feel like, plot-wise, Juliette was yanked away from a certain situation far earlier than she should’ve been. Adam and Warner, besides being two extremely interesting and exceptionally good-looking leading men, are presented as representing two sides of Juliette’s personality, or potential sides – a choice between love and goodness and between vengeance and darkness.
But the way the plot progressed, Warner didn’t have enough time to truly achieve this, to genuinely get into Juliette’s head. Didn’t manipulate her enough to undermine her beliefs and to cause some really good internal conflict. Didn’t have the time and relationship precedence to convincingly confuse Juliette emotionally in any way. At least in my opinion.
Her connection to Warner just seemed a contrivance to get that must-have love triangle device a foot in the door. Now, given the end of the book, I have some suspicions that may satisfactorily explain this. I’ve been told “Oh, wait until you read Unravel Me. Then you’ll understand.” But this book standing alone, as is? Juliette’s reactions to Warner don’t make sense, and I wish more development and story had been given to that part of the novel.
And I’ve always suspected that Adam was working for Warner. Deeply undercover. Everything plotted from the very beginning – why else send a past love of hers to rescue her from her inner self? I have been proven wrong but the series is not over yet so who may know?