Marshmallow reviews Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

One of the last books Marshmallow reviewed for 2022 was Tahereh Mafi’s novel Shatter Me. As her first book for 2023, she chose the second book in the series: Unravel Me, published first in 2013. As Sprinkles is curious to hear more about this book, she is asking questions and taking notes.

Marshmallow reviews Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Marshmallow reviews Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, here we are; it’s a new year, and there are lots of new books to read and write and talk about. Today we are talking about the second book in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series: Unravel Me. Your review of the first book made me so curious that I went ahead and read it myself. And I enjoyed it a lot. So now I want to ask you about this second book. Should I read it?

Marshmallow: It depends. The plot of the second book is very interesting. Just like the plot of the first book.

S: That sounds enticing.

M: Yes, the plot is really neat.

S: Tell me a bit about that.

M: Well, maybe I should first summarize the first book a bit. There is this girl named Juliette, whose touch is fatal to most people. She has been living in solitary confinement for many years because many people, including her parents, are scared of her. Then we learn that there are some people who can actually touch her and not die. And one of these is a rebel, and he helps her run away, and we end the first book on a high note, with Juliette and her new friends ready to fight an oppressive regime.

S: Yes, I remember all this. And the world is pretty dismal, right? There are no birds, there is a total environmental collapse, and people are living under the control of a faceless dystopian government.

M: Well, not quite faceless, because we meet one of its faces, Warner, in the first book, and he is one of the leaders of this new regime.

S: True. Do we see Warner in this second book as well?

M: Yes, and he is attracted to Juliette, and somehow Juliette is very confused, and she is not sure if she is attracted right back, even though Warner is a pretty terrible human being.

S: Hmm, here we are getting too close to the mushy stuff you didn’t like in the first book. I’m assuming that there is a lot of mushy stuff in this one, too?

M: Yes, this one has more actually.

S: Hmm, okay, I know it bothers you, so let us move on and talk about the actual plot a bit.

M: Sure. First off, we learned at the end of the last book that Juliette’s killing touch is kind of like a superpower, and she is not the only one with these kinds of powers. There are many others who have superpowers, and they are living together, working to bring down the oppressive regime. And in this book, they are continuing to do that, with Juliette and Adam, the person who saved her, joining them.

S: I see.

Marshmallow is reading Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Marshmallow is reading Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi.

S: So would you say, at this point, that the book becomes more like a typical heroic adventure book where our heroes are fighting an evil empire and will surely overcome against all odds?

M: Well, not quite. For two reasons. One is the mushy part, the book is more romance than adventure. And two, the “surely they will overcome” is definitely not a sure thing. Things are pretty desperate, I mean, they make some progress in this book, but the world is still a terrible place.

S: Do we ever see a bird?

M: I don’t think so. The world is still pretty bad, as I said. And there is still very little hope.

S: So I am guessing you might just have to read the next book?

M: I just might.

S: And from what you are telling me, I guess I do have to read this second book myself.

M: Yup. I think you have a higher tolerance for mushy stuff.

S: Well, they call me a grownup. I guess I can handle a little bit of that.

M: I guess.

S: So how would you rate the book then?

M: 93% I think. The plot is still very original and engrossing, but the mushiness is still not terribly exciting to me.

S: Alright, given what you told us already, this makes sense. So what do you want to tell our readers as we are wrapping things up?

M: Stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!

Marshmallow rates Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi 93%.
Marshmallow rates Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi 93%.

Marshmallow reviews Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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.

Marshmallow reviews Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Marshmallow reviews Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

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?

S: Okay.

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.

Marshmallow is reading Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Marshmallow is reading Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

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!

Marshmallow rates Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 90%.
Marshmallow rates Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 90%.