Shatter Me  - Tahereh Mafi Okay, I feel a little bit bad giving this book a one-star review, for several reasons:a) I won it from a blog giveaway. And at the time I entered the giveaway, I really wanted to read it because I thought the premise sounded pretty neat. Now I know I probably should have just not entered, and perhaps someone else would have won it and enjoyed it more than I did. But, oh well.b) The author is only 24, so she's probably still got a lot to learn.c) The author is also Muslim, and apparently a lot of Muslims have not taken this book well. Another Goodreads reviewer, Skyla, was apparently lectured by Muslims for reading this book in public, because it's offensive to their religion ... not sure why. I guess because of the somewhat sexual parts? (You can read Skyla's review here.) I guess if she knew it would offend people of her religion, that was a pretty ballsy move to make. So, props for that?Otherwise, I don't feel much remorse, considering I really, really did not care for this book. By the time I reached the end, I kind of felt like there was smoke coming out my ears because it had frustrated me so much. Then I had to go downstairs and eat pancakes and rant to my mom so I would feel better.Basically, a book has not annoyed me so much since I read Halo. And if you've read my review of that book, you know how strongly I disliked it. *Lets out a long sigh* So, here we go.Shatter Me is another boring paranormal romance dystopian story concerning a teenage girl named Juliette. For almost a year, she's been kept in captivity because her touch is lethal and thus, obviously, rather dangerous. Then a boy is thrown into her cell with her––a boy named Adam, whom she happens to have a history with. In a confusing turn of events, this leads to Juliette being taken to some creepy facility where a creepy guy named Warner wants to use her as a weapon. So, I see how this could be a cool story. The idea of having a lethal touch is intriguing (*coughs* although I guess I'm biased because I've used it in one of my own stories). And I like the idea of evil people trying to take Juliette and use her as a weapon. A bit clichéd I guess, but you know ... it makes sense. Unfortunately, there were a lot of things in this book that really did not work.1. The writing. I could go on and on about all the issues I had with the writing. I think it was actually one of the most pretentious styles I've ever seen. I can take bad writing to a certain extent, but the one thing I can't stand is a style that tries to be really original and poetic and ... it just doesn't work out. First of all, there was the use of strikethroughs. What Mafi did was, she would have Juliette narrating but her actual thoughts would be crossed out like this. All right, so I guess it's kind of a cool technique and something I haven't seen before. So, at least she tried to be original. The problem was, she used it so often and so needlessly that in the end, it was nothing but a gimmick. Plus trying to read so many crossed out things is kind of a pain, isn't it?Then there was the repetition repetition repetition. It reminded me of how I used to have this old computer program called ELIZA. And it was like this "computer therapist" that you would type messages to and then it would respond. And if you said the same thing over and over it would respond, "This is getting annoying annoying annoying. See what I mean?" And that's exactly what I kept thinking about. First of all, it was the repetition of descriptions. Especially that God damn description of this white bird Juliette kept imagining out her window. It would be like, "There will be a white bird. It will have a golden head. It will fly." By the time she mentioned this imaginary bird for about the third time, using the exact same words over and over again, I just couldn't take it anymore. Not only that, but she had a habit of repeating random words words words in the middle of sentences three times times times. And there was absolutely no point to it. At all. For example, there was a part where Mafi wrote, "James was sound sound sound asleep." Um, okay. Can you just write, "James was sound asleep"? What's wrong with doing that? Repeating "sound" three times doesn't make him any more or less asleep. We get it. He's asleep. Please, just say that. Because right now, you just seem like this:Then, there were the metaphors that made no sense whatsoever. Here are a couple, just to give examples:"He leans back against the couch. Runs a free hand over his face. Seasons change. Stars explode. Someone is walking on the moon."Just, what? What is this even supposed to signify? So, he sits a couch. He runs his hand over his face. What is this random stuff about seasons changing and stars exploding and someone walking on the moon? I guess maybe she's saying that there's a really long pause but ... in that case, why randomly mention someone on the moon? And why could she have just said it in a simpler, much less distracting way?"and I’m wondering why there are so many freight trains in my heart, why his chest is a broken harmonica."Once again ... sure, this is an original description. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'll never see this description in a book ever again. Granted, that's mostly because it doesn't even make sense. It's like, she just threw a bunch of words together and hoped someone would think it was symbolic. But really, what is this even saying? Because all I can picture is that her heart is making a sound like a train whistle and his chest is making weird musical noises. In which case, they both need to get those things checked out. Right now. That does not sound one bit healthy.“'It’s all your fault! It’s your fault, you worthless piece of shit,' his father screamed over and over and over again until I threw up right there, all over a patch of dandelions."Haha okay, this isn't even a metaphor. But I just had to include it because ... well, just read it again. That's a description you'll never forget. And this part is supposed to be some intense, emotional moment when Juliette is remembering a time she saw Adam got beaten up by his alcoholic father. So yeah, that should be disturbing. And instead, it made me have a hysterical laughing fit. I mean, her throwing up is a bit melodramatic, eh? It just comes out of nowhere. And if that wasn't bad enough ... why the heck does it have to be on a patch of dandelions? Why? It just totally ruins the mood.2. The total lack of world-building. And explaining things in general. Practically nothing was explained in this book. To begin with, Juliette's power (and the powers of other characters) was never explained. They just seemed to randomly have these supernatural abilities and there was no reason why. Maybe I missed something? But anyway.The biggest problem was that the author set this story in the future but never established a proper setting. Just how far in the future is this supposed to be? Why do people suddenly have random superpowers? What's with all the military rule and whatnot? None of these things are made clear. It ticks me off how so many YA authors are writing "dystopian" stories––but really, they're still just writing paranormal romance and don't want to admit it. So they give it a "futuristic" setting where everything is mildly unpleasant, and suddenly it's a "dystopia." If you're writing a real dystopia, you actually have to establish when/where/what it is. 3. All the "conveniences." Ack, there were so many random coincidences in this book, it was impossible for me to suspend my disbelief. The most significant one was that both of Juliette's love interests were (for no reason whatsoever) the only people able to touch her. Because otherwise, it would have been oh-so-frustrating if both of them couldn't make out with her. *Eyeroll* Heck, even Adam's little brother pointed out that it was "awfully convenient." If you have to make your 10-year-old character point out how ridiculous one of your plot devices is ... well, something's probably wrong.The second most significant convenience was Juliette's random super-strength. About halfway through the book, she suddenly discovered that she could crush concrete with her bare hands. Errrm okay. But then the thing was, she didn't ever take advantage of this power unless Tahereh Mafi obviously couldn't think of another way to get the characters out of a situation. (For example, when Juliette had to break Adam out of some prison cell.) But at times when Juliette really could have used this power, she just conveniently forgot it existed.For example, there was this scene where Warner started making out with Juliette. And then, she started kissing him back so she could distract him as she awkwardly reached into his shirt to get his gun so she could shoot him. So ... okay. I guess this might have made a little tiny bit of sense if say, she hadn't really wanted to kill him. But she later said that she hoped she'd shot him in the heart and that he was dead. So, if she wanted to absolutely guarantee his death, why the hell didn't she just take his skull and crush it with her bare hands? Or snap his neck? Or throw him through a wall? She can freaking CRUSH CONCRETE WITH HER HANDS, for crying out loud! Then she wouldn't have had to get in all that awkward making-out business.Another random coincidence was that the stupid imaginary bird ended up being identical to a tattoo Adam had on his chest. Um ... okay. So a random figment of Juliette's imagination ended up being the same as a tattoo she had never seen before. And then she was like, "Oooh, it's because you are my bird, and we shall fly away, and we shall be free." Yeah ... I think that's about all I can say about that.4. Juliette is an absolute Mary Sue. I mean, she's pretty much the epitome of Mary Sue. (Just check out the Universal Mary-Sue Litmus Test if you have no idea what I'm talking about.) Juliette displays an alarming number of Mary Sue traits.- Everything with a penis is in love with her.- ... Including the villain. He is described as being "obsessed" with her. (This is typically a bad, bad sign.)- She has a fairly ordinary name that's spelled unusually.- She is given beautiful clothing to wear for no good reason, except basically so that she'll look sexy.- She randomly achieves superpowers.- She is outcast and despised by most people––even though she has good intentions––because of her powers.- ... Including her own family.- She considers her power to be a curse rather than an advantage, and doesn't miss a single opportunity to whine about it.- She constantly angsts about something she did in the past, even though it wasn't really her fault. And by the way, the way she killed that little boy was completely lame. The way she talked about it before she gave any details, I figured it had been something really dramatic. But, no. She saw a little boy fall down in a grocery store, tried to help him stand up, and he died. Even though she knew that her touch killed people. If she'd been trying to save the boy––like, if he was about to fall off a cliff or get hit by a car or something, I understand why she might have risked touching him. But, that kid could have gotten up all by himself. And Juliette's only excuse was that the little boy's mom was neglecting him, and she felt bad because her own mother had neglected her. Oh, boohoo. That is totally worth killing a child over...5. The S&M. Warner kept trying to make Juliette touch him. It was implied that Juliette got pleasure out of touching people and seeing them suffer. Enough said.6. The insta-love. Juliette and Adam barely know each other. They knew of each other's existence when they were children, but they never actually talked. They barely talked when they were in a prison cell together, and that was only for a few days. They have a few conversations once they're at, um, that place with Warner and stuff. And then all of a sudden Adam is like, "I LOVE YOU." So they spend the rest of the book making out with each other. No ... just no. I've written enough rants on why this is a problem in YA literature, and I don't feel like writing it again. But seriously, romances need to take time and be properly developed. Otherwise, they just feel fake and bland.Okay, I don't think I can go on any longer. Now my head just hurts and ... I think you get the idea. This book did not do it for me. From the writing to the characters to the plot, it was all just a mess that needed some serious total rewriting editing. Hopefully Mafi, being so young, will eventually learn how to actually use metaphors, create detailed worlds, and develop characters and their relationships. But, as for this series, the first book was a turn-off for me and I don't plan to read the next two.