Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I have to admit that I had no idea what this book was about. The cover indicated that Juliette would be a strong protagonist ready to conquer the world. Embarrassingly, I didn't realize this was a dystopia and a really good one.
Juliette's touch is lethal. She's shunned, teased, and bullied. Her own parents didn't like her and gave her up very easily to an insane asylum. She's been studied and tested and the answers are inconclusive. She's in solitary confinement when Adam presents himself as a fellow psychotic.
But Juliette is not crazy. She is simply lonely and not very confident of anything except her will to never hurt another human being with her touch. She is good hearted and wants only to help.
Being a dystopia and Juliette having this gift of touch, naturally there is a bad side. One man wants to control her for his purposes. He wants to use her to torture who he chooses. He is cruel beyond comparison. And brutal.
On the opposite end we have a love interest who is good and kind but also trying to play the part of a good soldier. I'm not going to lie to you. This is one of the most sensual teen books I've read. I did not say sexual. Sensual in that the author carefully describes how Juliette feels when someone is finally able to touch her. She is touch sensory starved and Mafi artistically describes sensations while dodging being blatantly sexual. I loved it. On the other hand, I might not hand it immediately to my teenage daughters. Or I might. It might have enough layers of careful wording that it could be construed on mostly innocent. Because it is mostly innocent. But I don't expect it to remain that way. For my sake, I hope not. For my daughters' sakes, I hope so.
Sex: Mild innuendo
Sensualness: delicious moderate
Swearing: Mild to moderate