A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.
Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette's journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette's touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he's a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she's not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there's little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette's jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: "My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling." For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else's schemes.
Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Mafi combines a psychological opener with an action-adventure denouement in her YA debut, and the result is a page-turner with a slightly split personality. Juliette Ferrars is 17 and cannot remember a loving touch; indeed, after 264 days in solitary confinement, she can barely remember human contact. Then a boy is shoved into her cell, and her world changes. Just as she begins to trust Adam, guards burst in and march them off to the commandant. Juliette discovers Adam is really a soldier of the Reestablishment, a totalitarian regime that wants to use Juliette because her touch can kill. Juliette wants to get far away from anyone she can hurt or who can hurt her--though she can't help hoping that, somehow, Adam might not fall in either of those categories. Mafi doesn't escape some rookie pitfalls; descriptions like "fifteen thousand feelings of disbelief hole-punched in my heart" strain after lyricism, and proof that the divided plot can be brought to a satisfying conclusion must await later installments. Nevertheless, this is a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks. Ages 14-up. (Nov.)[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC
Gr 9 Up--Juliette knows that she is a monster; her touch is fatal. She has been living in a cell in a mental institution for 264 days, all alone. When a boy is brought in as her cell mate, his arrival sparks an explosion of events that changes her life as well as the world. Shatter Me takes place in a future time in which a lack of resources has so frightened the citizens that they have handed over all of their basic rights to a totalitarian government. The regime has plans for Juliette, but she finds the strength to resist the powers that be and joins in a rebel movement, becoming the central figure that everyone is fighting to possess. Mafi sets the scene with the horrendous consequences of ecological greediness and the end result of continuing to demand that the government fix everything and protect everyone. Then she shines a light of hope through the idea that evolution always finds a way to adapt. A romantic angle adds to the suspense as Juliette struggles to trust and to love even though the consequences are death if she misjudges. She narrates the story and shares portions of her journal, which adds to the connection readers have with her. Character development is solid and realistic. The book ends with room for a sequel but not in a cliff-hanger, so teens will feel satisfied yet wait impatiently for more.--Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ[Page 126]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.