YA Highway does a Road Trip Wednesday every week, where they ask a question for readers to answer on their blogs or in the comments of the original post. This week’s question is: “What’s the best book you read in November?”
I had to think about this for a minute, because I read two books this month that I adored. Ultimately, I decided Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me was the best book I read in November. The writing is so fresh, and I don’t mean this in that cliché way reviewers do when they don’t have anything better to say.
The main character, Juliette, has been locked up by the Establishment, an autocratic government who emerged out of the crisis stemming from an extreme food shortage brought on by climate change. She hasn’t spoken in the 264 days she has been confined, and her internal monologue shows she is perpetually on the brink of insanity from her isolation and a childhood of being unloved by anyone, because she can hurt people with her touch without meaning to.
As the story progresses and Juliette finds acceptance in some places, her internal monologue becomes less chaotic, more structured, further from the brink. She develops throughout the entire story, and the Juliette left in the end is by far a different person from the Juliette we meet in the beginning. Amongst her teetering inner monologue, Mafi has also placed highly unusual figures of speech into Juliette’s head, interesting twists from common sayings. Mafi handles Juliette’s development so well, so subtly, that the reader blinks and suddenly realizes something has changed inside her without them noticing.
This masterful development is the primary reason why I love this book, coupled with the sheer depravity of her supposed rescuer, the sincerity of Juliette’s love interest to the point where he is willing to bear violence on the part of the “rescuer”, the wry humour of love interest’s coworker… I could go on. The one criticism I have is the ending tapered off to a bit of a whimper and probably went on a bit long, but that’s forgiveable considering the rest of the book was so phenomenal.
Seriously, guys, go read “Shatter Me”. It’s a Young Adult dystopian crossed with a little paranormal, and an excellent specimen of what Young Adult fiction can offer to all readers, regardless of taste.