Juliette has not seen, spoken to or touched another human being for 264 days. Locked away in an asylum as punishment for an accidental crime, her solitude is interrupted when she is assigned a cellmate. The fact that the cellmate is a boy both frightens and excites her. She is as frightened for him as for herself, because her powers, the same powers that caused her to commit the accidental crime, could be the end of this new cellmate, Adam.

She can inflict great pain—or worse—by simply touching or being touched. Her parents, who regard her as a monster, are relieved to be rid of her. Time in the asylum has not alleviated her insanity, but has actually caused it. Her lack of lucidity is represented throughout the book by insane thoughts struck through and then replaced with more appropriate remarks. Juliette is a work in progress, and her curse evolves into a power as the story progresses. As she is empowered, her need to strike through her thoughts wanes.

Author Tahereh Mafi, at only 23 years of age, has created a fascinating dystopian society where birds don’t fly, clouds are the wrong color, disease is rampant and the weather alternates between snow and blazing heat without seasons or any measurable pattern. A group known as The Reestablishment has taken over, and they rule with cruelty and psychopathic measures of torture. When the extremely good-looking but horribly evil Warner plans to turn Juliette into his secret weapon for torturing troublemakers, she has to choose her own path and fight for what she believes is right.

Although Shatter Me is the first of a forthcoming trilogy, it stands alone as a poetically written and absolutely riveting novel that rivals The Hunger Games in intensity and page-turning excitement.

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