Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi Juliette Ferrars has been away from her parents for 3 years and incarcerated for over 260 days. Then one day, Adam Kent, a boy she knew as a child, appears. Thus begins an avalanche of activities that lead to Juliette escaping and learning to embrace her powers.

NOTE: I received this through the Amazon Vine program.

I want to clarify one thing, right off the bat. This is not a dystopian. This book is clearly a romance, set in a vaguely dystopian (i.e. highly stereotypically oppressive) society. More time is spent on Adam and Juliette canoodling than actually doing anything about the supposedly bad society around them.

I didn't walk into this book expecting it to be a masterpiece, but neither did I open it thinking I would dislike it. But as soon as Adam Kent, Love Interest, appears on PAGE 3, I knew I was in for a stinker. This book is shameless; it doesn't even try to act like it is anything other than a dressed up romance story for teens (meaning lots of steamy scenes, minus actual sex). The characters end up being boring as hell or wimps, the story is nonexistent and feels like a ripoff, and the dystopian society feels like diluted version of 1984.

Juliette is our protagonist, and God, does she have a complex. Yes, she's been captured, but she is constantly acting like a wimp, clinging to her boy toy to have him do EVERYTHING to her. Towards the end she improves, but even that feels odd. A few hours with guns means she is that much more relaxed about using them? I don't know where that came from. Also, I couldn't help but roll my eyes at how her parents were explained away, so that Juliette could be all alone. There are lots of parents who have children with disabilities that don't do what Juliette's parents did here. Again, the only reason the parents were painted as so callous, was to allow Juliette to run around and not have to explain where her parents were.

Adam Kent is the most boring love interest ever. He is a set of muscles and abs, that's all. Of course he falls in love with Juliette because she is "so selfless" (i.e. doormat), and he wants to rush in and save her (which he is able to do with stunning simplicity at times). Some attempts, such as the inclusion of a widdle brother (who acts nothing like a 10 year old, but instead like a 5 year old--I don't make that complaint very often!), are made to make him more interesting, but all fall flat.

Kenji Yamamoto made me groan. His role could be summarized as "Comedic Horny Teenager" (plus some handy Deus Ex Machina). He hits on Juliette, to prove to our audience that, although she doesn't feel pretty, she actually is. But somehow, what is even MORE annoying is the racially insensitive joke about his last name. Another very minor character, Winston, apparently thinks that Kenji's last name is "too hard to pronounce, so Winston calls Kenji "Moto". My jaw literally dropped when I read that; I can't believe something so racially insensitive got passed the editor (even if Juliette thinks what Winston does is wrong). This doesn't belong in a book aimed at teenagers.

Maybe I'm a twisted being (actually, there is no "maybe" in that), but I thought the only good character was Warner. Despite all his cliched 100% EVUL villain traits, I thought he was interesting and the only character to make any sense. I wanted to know why he wanted Juliette, what he planned on using her for, and what his history was (what was the bit about his mom??). Too bad the book never bothered to answer any of those questions--that is for the sequel (and you know it's coming!) to do.

The story is bland. It's trying to be Hunger Games/1984 with some X-Men, but none of that really comes into play until the last 50 pages. This is why I didn't bother to mention Juliette's lethal touch ability above--sure, she angsts about it, but ultimately, her superpower doesn't help her in anyway until the very end and then she becomes Super Woman? I mean, what does smashing through doors have to do with lethal touch?. Also, it felt like it was ripping off Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children--similar "mystery", similar "finding an orphanage of highly talented children", similar weird talents. In this case--and I totally didn't expect to say this--I would PREFER to read "Miss Peregrine" than this book. Yes, folks, I would rather read about a whiny, over-privileged brat finding a magical land and leaving his parents than read about a wimpy doormat girl falling in lust with a beefcake boy in a dystopian society.

The dystopian society is laughable. I don't understand how the Reestablishment could take over and cause all these bad things in so short a time. I love how flinging around things like "one language", "writing is illegal", and "people don't have food" make up a dystopian society. It used to be time was spent creating the atmosphere--take a look at 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale! Both books take time and patience to build up their worlds. And neither of them had some stupid kiddie romance thrown in for giggles.

The writing isn't horrible, though the metaphors most of the time don't make a lick of sense (or are buried within metaphors like a Russian nesting doll), but I was confused by some of the strikeouts. If this is a journal that Juliette is writing in (which is odd, as it is first person present--PLEASE authors, stop writing in first person present!!), then why does she mark out dialogue? If it isn't a journal--what's with the strikeouts?

Oh, and what is WITH the weird cover?! It looks like a supermodel walking down a runway--NOTHING in this book bears any resemblance to this cover art!

So I think it's clear I didn't like this book. You may wonder why I bothered to finish it, and I have two reasons: This was an Amazon Vine ARC, so I felt obligated to finish it, and I am a completest.

If you want to read a fairly clean (no sex) romance book with a hint of dystopia, then this is your book. If you want a young adult book with a real dystopia, good characters, and an interesting story, I would skip this. Even with their individual faults, I would recommend both Divergent or Blood Red Road over this.