Review: Shatter Me (Minor Spoilers)

Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi

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Read March 7, 2018

3 stars

I did not think I would like this book.

Years ago, this series was on fire. Everyone either loved them or hated them.

Recently, there has been a resurgence of love for the series because the latest book is out. I’m going to warn you, I have an unpopular opinion about these books, but hear me out.

I think they’re fun. BUT, here’s my big problem with this series (keep in mind I have read the first two books and the two novellas).

As a science fiction dystopian, this book fails.

Freaking love triangles man. The only YA book where I enjoyed the love triangle and was convincingly torn by it, was The Hunger Games. Those characters all had real pros and cons and emotions attached to them.

Shatter me? Um, no. There is one clear choice and the other is a terribly disturbed boy you’re supposed to sympathize with and believe can be fixed by loooooooove. No. I wish young adult fiction would stop doing this. It’s not ok for young women to believe that all abusive and emotional terrorism can be excused because you truly love that person and they’re incredible hot. It’s not okay, it’s never okay. Stop doing this.

Back to my literary criticism.

This is not a science fiction or dystopian novel no matter how hard it tries to be. Science fiction is easy to disprove- there is no explanation of the mysterious powers the people suddenly have. Despite the fact that they show characters going through ‘tests’, there really isn’t any logical explanation. Science fiction does still require you to suspend belief, however, there should be some sort of science backing it. The facade of science fiction is there in this case, but not strongly enough.

Here’s the problem with calling this dystopian: It’s flimsy, not there, and doesn’t make sense. First of all, there is no setting. There is no mention of continent, country, state, city etc. Are we even in North America? I assume because the author is American. There is never mention of where in the world these people  are from or where they currently are other than this hideout, then that hideout, then that building, or over there.

The world has been homogenized under one world power…in less than a year. This makes no sense and there is no other  explanation than simply that. There was some sort of vote and then it happened. Once again, I am willing to suspend belief, but this is so flimsy and there is no further discussion about this world than a flippant remark about ‘the bad guys’.

This is a romance.

Pure and simple, this is a romance novel that I wish would have been marketed as simply being a paranormal romance. I think that would have worked for me.

Like I said, I enjoyed these books. They’re fast and fun. There is always something going on.

The writing style is gorgeous! Mafi is so talented! I was taken on the emotional ride of the main character and identified greatly with her because the writing pulls you in and refuses to let go. The writing was the strongest part of the novel, unfortunately,  the plot falls apart.

I gave this three stars because it is fun. I haven’t read Ignite Me or Restore Me yet and I think I will just simply because they are such fast reads and entertaining enough it would be good for a-well, a snow day like I have now.

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Book Review: If There’s No Tomorrow

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Read: February 11, 2018

3 Stars

I picked up this book because I wanted a light romance for the month of February and I knew Armentrout could deliver in that department. I love her Lux series and reread it whenever I need some high school angst nostalgia (not that my high school experience was filled with aliens or government experiments…or a steamy hot love interest…ok, nevermind).

With that being said, you understand my expectations.

They were destroyed.

I hate crying. I hate crying while reading. It’s so hard to read the pages. My nose runs and then I’m trying to blow my nose and turn the page at the same time! I have to experience real human emotions. It’s the worst.

I would shed every tear again to express how much I loved this book.

First, you need to understand Jennifer L. Armentrout. She can write a teenager’s perspective like she relives high school every day. These aren’t your ridiculously mature, reflective, waxing poetic high schoolers. These kids are real from their shallow, self absorption to their deep loyalty to each other.

The author’s ability to write teenagers so well means you go on a journey with the characters. You laugh and cry with them and cry some more with them.

This book deals with grief and survivor’s guilt. It depicts real family dynamics through a teenaged perspective which means the responses are not always appropriate or healthy. Nothing is insta-happy, it’s raw.

If There’s No Tomorrow is about Lena Wise who makes one bad decision that will haunt her. How do you move on from a crushing mistake?

That’s the synopsis. That’s it. Literally, I can’t give you any more than this, but I will say that the topic of this book is very important and excellently executed.

Now, why only three stars?

Despite how real this book is, the main characters, Lena and her love interest are TOO perfect. We’re tripping into Mary-sue and Gary-Stu territory here. Because of this, I felt like the ending was too fairy-tale, everyone lived happily ever after.

I also felt like, in the end, Lena deals with a major conflict concerning her family with a strange amount of maturity and self blame. She takes on one hundred percent of guilt (misplaced guilt, I might add) and everything turns out okay. (Once again, no spoilers, but it has to do with her single mother.) That stank to me and felt like it should not have been included.

Three stars is good. I loved this book and definitely encourage others to read it as it teaches an important lesson for all ages.

Check it out on goodreads: here