A couple weeks ago, while Marshmallow was writing her review of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, she and Sprinkles looked up some information on the author, Ransom Riggs, and learned that he is married to a fellow author, Tahereh Mafi, who has a significant following of her own. When the bunnies learned about her first novel, Shatter Me (2011), they were intrigued by its plot, and so they decided to check it out. What follows is Marshmallow’s review of this book.
Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, you read this book rather quickly.
Marshmallow: You know I am a quick reader.
S: That’s true. What did you think about this book?
M: Let me first tell you what the book is about. No?
M: The book is about a girl named Juliette who is living in a special institution, in solitary confinement, because her touch is deadly to other people. And she is living in a strange world, kind of dystopian.
S: That really sounds intriguing! So how old is Juliette?
M: She’s seventeen I think.
S: Okay. Do we ever learn why her touch is deadly? That is a weird condition.
M: Sort of, towards the end, but I won’t tell. You do need to read it yourself.
S: I am going to, for sure. I’m very curious.
M: Well, you won’t learn everything. But you will have a better idea of things. This is the first of a series of several books.
S: I see. Does it stand alone on its own?
M: Well, some of the conflicts and problems in the book are resolved, but many others pop up, and when the book ends, you are kind of left hanging, and need to read the next book. And then probably the next. And so on.
S: Hmm. Well, let me read this first and then see if I want to continue. How about you? Do you want to read the next book? Are you curious about what will happen to Juliette and her world? Did you like her as a character?
M: She is a bit too much into romance for my taste. Maybe it makes sense because she cannot touch anyone, until she meets this one person that she can. So I can see how she might be very excited, but then things do get a bit very touchy, kissy, and so on.
S: Hmm, so probably the book would not be very appropriate for bunnies younger than 12.
M: Hmm, maybe even older than that.
S: I guess we are seeing one of the differences between middle grades and young adult literature.
M: I think that’s right.
S: So let us get back to the plot. So she is in this confined space, but then she meets this one other person who can touch her and not be hurt. Does she ever get out?
M: Yes, there are some folks who want to use her as a weapon. One specific guy especially, and so they help her get out. And the rest of the book is about her learning about these people who want to use her, about the power structure around her, and so on. It is a dystopian world, reminds me a bit about Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.
S: Yes, you used that word, dystopian, before. But what did you mean?
M: There is an oppressive regime. People have messed up the planet, and a group took charge claiming they’d help, they call it the Reestablishment, but they have not really. And they have erased all other power structures, all other institutions, and so on. Pretty depressing actually.
S: That makes for an interesting setting, I can see that.
M: Yes, I did want to know more, and maybe in the later books, Juliette and her friends will fight the Reestablishment and maybe take them down.
S: Yes, something to look forward to, I’m sure. So tell me a bit about the style of the book.
M: Sure. The whole book is written from a first-person perspective, Juliette’s. And she has a very distinctive voice.
S: How so?
M: When she uses numbers, she does not spell them out even when they are small numbers. She always uses the numerals. Except the chapter numbers in the book; those are all spelled out. She always writes in present tense. And she crosses out things and corrects herself. Of course you can still read what she wrote originally, so that makes her voice different from many other narrators I read.
S: I skimmed through it and I did see some lines crossed out. Even on the title page, there is a part which I am assuming is Juliette saying: MY TOUCH IS LETHAL, crossed out, and followed by MY TOUCH IS POWER. That is really interesting. Then the book reads kind of like a diary, right?
M: Yes, though, apparently, she also has a diary, but this is not quite the diary, I think. I’m not sure actually.
S: Okay, I am now really curious to read the book. Let us wrap this up so I can take it from your paws and get started. How would you rate the book in the end?
M: I’d rate it 90%. I really like the plot, I like the author’s writing style, and I really really want to learn more about Juliette and her story, but the mushy stuff is not terribly exciting for me.
S: That makes sense to me Marshmallow, thanks. What do you want to say to our readers as we close this up?
M: Stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!