Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi I read "Shatter Me" because it was getting a lot of buzz and my brain temporarily short-circuited and decided that "buzz" + YA = worth reading. Let this be a lesson to me. I'm not sure if this book made me smarter or dumber. Probably dumber. It isn't that "Shatter Me" is a BAD book. I see what Mafi was trying to do with the style and respect it, but egads, I was way too old for her book.

"Shatter Me" is told in first person / present tense (this should have been my first sign) by a feeble little thing named Juliette who is basically Rogue from X-Men. She's been locked up for her special abilities, and now the crappy government in the crappy dystopian world she lives in wants to use her to kill people with her touch. I think. That was never really explained, but I'm going to assume that the Reestablishment (because, hey, who needs a distinctive name?) wants her to kill people with her deadly, deadly hands. She gets a cell-mate on page 3 named Adam who is super dreamy and all kinds of muscly abness wrapped up in a hunk of burning love. True love ensues.

PROBLEMS:
The writing. Dear god, the writing. It was like opening up a journal written by a manic depressive 12-year-old trying her hand at poetry for the first time. It was like looking into the soul of the worst person you've ever known and having to translate the nonsense that passes for thoughts in her brain. It was like stabbing myself in the eyes with weapons formed from the worst LiveJournal accounts ever and Linkin Park lyrics. It was even more dramatic than my awful similes. Mafi writes "Shatter Me" in the stream-of-consciousness style, so the reader basically has to put up with every ridiculous thing that enters Juliette's mind. The laborious use of heavy-handed metaphors took me out of the story many, many times. I would post examples of the strange things I read, but then I'd have to spend time reading them again. She also uses numbers a lot. Juliette's always feeling "10,000 finger of pain" or something equally melodramatic. She repeats phrases over and over again, only uses punctuation when she feels like it, and commits a Class-A writing felony by striking out lines of text. Um, yeah. Juliette? I can still read what you were striking out! I get that it's used for style and to "hide" her true thoughts, but the strike-outs just made it difficult for me to read. My eyes are bad enough without having to squint to ready through the lines. Like I stated before, I'm old.
Juliette. This girl does lots of navel-gazing and very little of anything else. She sulks a lot, but that's about it. I actually enjoyed her more before she fell in love with Adam because her loneliness was fascinating to read. Once she found out that Adam could touch her (convenient, huh?), Juliette spent way too much time wanting to jump his bones. Adam, for his part, tries to have a personality. It just doesn't show on the page because Juliette's too busy wondering how to get his shirt off. He's pretty tough for a 17-year-old soldier, I guess.
Warner, the antagonist. I get the feeling that Mafi intended to make this guy mysterious and somehow credible as an alternate love interest for Juliette. But Warner just seems like a douche with mommy issues to me. I don't get the appeal. He's a 19-year-old boy who acts as some type of overlord, which is hard enough to believe. It only gets worse when he acts like an obsessive creepster.
The ending. Juliette went traipsing dangerously close to Mary Sue territory. I don't throw around this accusation lightly. Also, it bothered me that she was suddenly wielding a gun despite the fact that A) she'd never used one before, and B) she refuses to injure people with her hands but suddenly decides that guns are A-OK.

GOOD STUFF:
I finished it, so "Shatter Me" has that going for it. A couple of the secondary characters were amusing.

BOTTOM LINE:
"Shatter Me's" biggest flaw is the absence of a sense of humor. Anything to break up the monotony of teenage emo agony would have been welcome. Coming in at a close second is the implausible world and its implausible heroine, a girl who is likely insane from a lifetime of solitude and guilt but gets treated like the most special snowflake in town. The romance is tolerable and juvenile, so I can see why young adults would enjoy the book. I just didn't. I'll stick to "The Hunger Games" for my YA dystopian fiction.