Kat Kennedy's Reviews > Shatter Me

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
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Shat­ter Me, oth­er­wise known as: When Cre­ative Writ­ing Class Goes Wrong.

I am all for exper­i­men­tal writ­ing, for stretch­ing your abil­i­ties and try­ing to find fresh ways to express ideas. Occa­sion­ally you end up with genius, but most of the time you result in pre­ten­tious, awk­ward prose that stick in the prover­bial craw of read­ers. This book is that writ­ing. There are plenty of exam­ples that I can give as evi­dence – but I shall stick with two rel­a­tively short ones:

“His eyes scan the sil­hou­ette of my struc­ture and the slow motion makes my heart race. I catch the rose petals as they fall from my cheeks, as they float around the frame of my body, as they cover me in some­thing that feels like the absence of courage.”

The absence of courage? Are you fuck­ing kid­ding me? We have a word for that. I believe that is almost the dic­tio­nary def­i­n­i­tion of the word cow­ard. I would explain what was wrong with the rest of the para­graph too but I want to keep this review to a 10,000 word the­sis at max.

“I always won­der about raindrops.

I won­der about how they’re always falling down, trip­ping over their own feet, break­ing their legs and for­get­ting their para­chutes as they tum­ble right out of the sky toward an uncer­tain end.”

…right.

I get, artis­ti­cally, that Mafi wanted to expose her read­ers to the mind of a girl whose san­ity is frag­ile and ques­tion­able, and that she’s try­ing to show this through the prose. I don’t think the effect works or is done par­tic­u­larly well. I think the work­ings of a trou­bled mind would result in more than bad analo­gies and a bunch of num­bers. Despite the fact that Juliette’s back­story and premise is inter­est­ing, we still end up with the same mun­dane, cookie-cutter hero­ine that can be seen in the vast major­ity of Young Adult lit­er­a­ture. The only thing insane about this novel is how pre­dictable and trite it is.


It would not be com­pletely unrea­son­able to ques­tion my san­ity in regards to read­ing Young Adult novels.

When are pop­u­lar young adult authors going to pro­vide more to the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of their main pro­tag­o­nists than: Irre­sistible, unique out­sider, in love with a guy?

Can’t male pro­tag­o­nists have other qual­i­ties than: in love with main char­ac­ter, hot, tragic back­story to illicit exces­sive brooding?

The entire premise of Shat­ter Me promised some­thing dif­fer­ent and new. Yet we still end up with the same bland old fare.

The plot and pac­ing is awk­ward and cum­ber­some. Even when sit­u­a­tions are sup­posed to be tense, there is a sense of bore­dom and pre­dictabil­ity. I feel sad that this is yet again, another dis­ap­point­ing dystopian Young Adult novel that will join its sis­ters in the Mediocre Hall of I Can’t Be Stuffed.

But, if you do decide to visit, at least you get a free shirt!





One last thing (view spoiler)



This review also appears on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.

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Reading Progress

02/11/2012
33.0% "Romanticize ALL the things!"
02/11/2012
48.0% "Bored now..."
02/11/2012
56.0% "Oh I saw that coming a mile away!"

Comments (showing 23-72)





Watermelon Daisy Wow, we're reading them at the same time. xD


Watermelon Daisy Ebony wrote: "Cant wait to see what you think of this. Juliette drove me craaazy."

Ohh? *assumes that's not a good thing*

xD


Kat Kennedy Yeah... I can't say I'm particularly impressed.


I am Bastet I could not get past page 80 of this book. I was that bored.


message 68: by Steph (new) - rated it 1 star

Steph Sinclair Wow two stars. Looking forward to this review.


message 67: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea K. so, this book is either a hit or a miss as I can see...


message 66: by [deleted user] (new)

I was hoping this one was going to break out of the dull YA fic. Sad.


Megan (Book Brats) I really did not like this book at all. Gave up after 50 pages of metaphors clawing out my eyeballs.


message 64: by Terri (new) - added it

Terri I stopped halfway. Dreading picking it back up.


I am Bastet The metaphors made it almost impossible to figure out what was going on. When I did figure it out, I didn't care.


Skittles (Skyla) This review sums this book up perfectly. I loved it and the video link the best =)


message 61: by Penny (new)

Penny The absence of courage? Rain drops falling down, tripping over their feet and breaking their legs ? Bahahaha. Uh, that's hilarious. So glad I didn't read this book.

Thanks Kat, for being insane willing enough to take the bullet for the rest of us. Over and over and over and over again. You're like a martyr in the book review world. 70 virgins for you when you reach paradise.


Kat Kennedy I would much rather 70 experienced and sexually confident lovers but apparently that's way too much to ask for. Have you ever tried to bed a virgin? Nothing but a headache!


message 59: by Penny (new)

Penny Okay, fair enough but I don't know where we'd find 70 experienced and sexually confident lovers. How about one Jericho Barrons?


message 58: by Pack-it-up (new)

Pack-it-up Penny wrote: "Okay, fair enough but I don't know where we'd find 70 experienced and sexually confident lovers. How about one Jericho Barrons?"

Wait, wasn't Jericho Barrons the main guy for Karen Marie Moanings Dark Fever series? If it isn't, ignore me, but if it is, wasn't he kind of a douche? I hated that book store owner guy!


message 57: by Penny (new)

Penny Oh, I totally can't stand him either. But I'm pretty sure Kat wouldn't mind making babies with him.


Kat Kennedy Yes, PIU, Barron's is from the Fever series. And I understand where you're coming from on this one.

But...

How soon can you arrange delivery time, Penny!


Kat Kennedy No, i wouldn't make babies with ANY man - but I'd spend some quality naked wrestling time with him for sure.


Katie(babs) Barrons is a douche. I hate him with everything I have inside of me. ahem.

Give me a Roarke or Jamie from Outlander any day.


Kat Kennedy Yuck! Jamie! Katie, I'm trying to keep down my breakfast!


Katie(babs) Kat wrote: "Yuck! Jamie! Katie, I'm trying to keep down my breakfast!"

OMG how could you not adore Jamie?! he's...omg OCH!


Kat Kennedy Nah. And I'm assuming Roarke is J.D. Robb's Roarke?


Katie(babs) Kat wrote: "Nah. And I'm assuming Roarke is J.D. Robb's Roarke?"

Roarke is my #1 man, Jamie is #2.

Jamie is a redhead! How can you not swoon over that?


Kat Kennedy Yeah I don't really like either. Give me Barrons over them any day!


message 48: by Penny (new)

Penny Redhead you say? I could give you a big long list as to why I wouldn't swoon over that. Number one on the list would be all the red hair.

I don't know why anyone hasn't mentioned Terrible or Curran.


Katie(babs) Kat wrote: "Yeah I don't really like either. Give me Barrons over them any day!"

I just don't see why everyone is so woo woo about Barrons. He was such a douche to Mac. They only thing I liked was his bookstore and the way he was in bed. Other than that, I wanted his smog monster kid to eat him.


Katie(babs) Penny wrote: "Redhead you say? I could give you a big long list as to why I wouldn't swoon over that. Number one on the list would be all the red hair.

I don't know why anyone hasn't mentioned Terrible or C..."


Did you read the latest Chess short on Heartbreakers and Heroes by Stacia? So so sexy and hot. Terrible likes to open doors for Chess.


Megan (Book Brats) Great review, Kat! As I've said, I was no fan of this book, but you put into words the feelings I was unable to share without my mind exploding from the bad metaphors!


message 44: by Becky (new)

Becky Katie(babs) wrote: "I just don't see why everyone is so woo woo about Barrons. He was such a douche to Mac. They only thing I liked w..."

Yeah, I've never liked Barrons. Terrible, though...

*fans self*


Kat Kennedy Terrible is good. Curran is respectable. Bones was cool before he turned into a massive psycho.


Katie(babs) Kat wrote: "Terrible is good. Curran is respectable. Bones was cool before he turned into a massive psycho."

Bones? You don't like Bones?


message 41: by Vi (new) - added it

Vi Vi Dystopian YA needs to stop. We need to stop it.


message 40: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Hartman Man, Catwoman's boobs don't look like they're an organic part of her body, do they? Do you think maybe those are storage bags of some kind instead? Because otherwise, where does she put her wallet and keys?


Kat Kennedy Rachel - there's this great tumblr site called Boobs Don't Work Like That. Comic book artists are its bread and butter!


Kat Kennedy Bones is cool. He's just a little... Full on.


Katie(babs) Kat wrote: "Bones is cool. He's just a little... Full on."

Kitten.. Cat... ;P


Megan (Book Brats) Vi wrote: "Dystopian YA needs to stop. We need to stop it."

Dystopian YA itself isn't the problem. Dystopian YA that isn't by any means dystopian is, or dystopian YA with the same exact bad worldbuilding and romance-heavy plot.


message 35: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth May Rachel wrote: "Man, Catwoman's boobs don't look like they're an organic part of her body, do they? Do you think maybe those are storage bags of some kind instead? Because otherwise, where does she put her wallet ..."

I'm going to be honest, it looks like she took one of those butt pads, and attached it to her chest.



Uncanny!


Kat Kennedy I think Dystopia has a place and can be a vital reflection on social norms and culture issues.

But when it's simply used as a backdrop for some sappy love story and unconvincing writing - well, then I agree with you.


message 33: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Hartman Elizabeth wrote: "Rachel wrote: "Man, Catwoman's boobs don't look like they're an organic part of her body, do they? Do you think maybe those are storage bags of some kind instead? Because otherwise, where does she ..."

That is super embarrassing when you forget which end the butt pad goes on...


message 32: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn Kat wrote: "I think Dystopia has a place and can be a vital reflection on social norms and culture issues.

But when it's simply used as a backdrop for some sappy love story and unconvincing writing - well, th..."


Yeah, this comment exactly. When I read a dystopia I want to know all about how and why the world got to be the way it is.

Tahereh Mafi seems really sweet and really cool, but after reading a ton of reviews, I don't think i'll be reading this.


Kat Kennedy I agree, Mafi seems like a lovely person. But the only real social commentary this book seems to have at the moment is that socialism is bad.

I believe American propaganda has already liberally covered that topic.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

"It would not be com­pletely unrea­son­able to ques­tion my san­ity in regards to read­ing Young Adult novels."

Lol, I reached the same conclusion tonight, but on the romance label. Sometimes the sturgeon law sucks.

And yeah, another book to the avoid pile. Thanks Kat, for walking in first to see if any boulder fall :P


message 29: by Pack-it-up (new)

Pack-it-up I've never really gotten into dystopian world books anyway...and never will with YA fiction.The YA stuff they have out right now is bad enough. >.>


message 28: by Tiff (last edited Feb 28, 2012 11:05PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tiff I couldn't have put it any better! You totally called it with the whole "When Creative Writing Class" goes wrong comment. This reminds me of my depressed teenage years in the nineties when I tried to be poignant but ended up sounding about as deep as a pot of fondue and just as cheesy.


Lettie You put it perfectly. All YA books seem so predictable recently >_>


Juice Actually, if you read on Juliette grows up in the next books.


Skittles (Skyla) @Juice.

Why are you just copying and pasting the same statement into a bunch of different negative reviews?


Kat Kennedy I don't give a shit.


message 23: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Kat, I love your bitter reviews the best! :) Don't read my book. I don't want you to hate it.


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