Shatter Me Summary

Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me

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Shatter Me Summary

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Shatter Me is a young adult dystopian thriller by Iranian-American author Tahereh Mafi, first published in 2011. The main character is Juliette, a 17-year-old girl born with a lethal touch that can kill or paralyze anyone she touches. When the book begins, she is in an asylum, driven partly insane by the impact of her powers. However, the corrupt government that rules her world has designs on her, believing she can help them defeat the resistance to their rule. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Shatter Me is that it is written in the style of a journal or document with classified information, so certain passages have been crossed out or redacted. Shatter Me explores themes of resistance to tyranny, and the ability of human nature and the human spirit to overcome great hardship or personal torment. Receiving overall positive reviews and popular in the young adult genre, the film rights for Shatter Me were optioned by 20th Century Fox prior to the book’s release in 2011, and a film adaptation is currently in development. It is the first in a trilogy, followed by Unravel Me and Ignite Me, with e-book novellas Destroy Me and Fracture Me being released between books.

As Shatter Me begins, Juliette Ferrars is a teenaged girl locked in a cell at an asylum for a crime she accidentally committed years ago. She’s starting to lose her mind from the isolation, but one day, the guards tell her she is getting a cellmate. She is worried when she finds out that the cellmate is a young man named Adam. She knows she remembers him from somewhere when they meet, but she cannot figure out from where. At first, she is scared of him, and Adam behaves aggressively, taking over the one bed and blanket in the cell and leaving her to fend for herself. However, their attitudes towards each other soften after he burns his hand on a hot plate and she patches him up. She then starts teaching him how to survive in the facility. She shows him how to get a quick shower, and he returns her bed and blanket when he sees she is cold. She remains haunted by her odd memories of him, but does not ask him about it.

One day, the soldiers come into the cell to take Juliette away. It is revealed that Adam is a soldier and a spy, working for the Reestablishment, the totalitarian government regime. She is taken to Sector 45, where she meets its leader, Warner. He wants her to use her deadly touch to destroy the rebels in exchange for a life of ease and riches. While she is horrified by the idea, Warner wants her to see what her life could be like in the compound and assigns Adam as her bodyguard.

In the compound, Juliette finds herself with every comfort, but rebuffs Adam’s attempts to get her to cooperate with Warner. She later finds out that Adam was beaten by Warner for her refusal, and decides to play along for now, dressing up and looking for a way out. She finds the notebook she had in her cell and learns that Adam is really trying to help her. He is moved into her new apartment, and she learns that Adam can touch her without being hurt. The two of them become closer, eventually starting a romantic relationship. Warner continues to press Juliette to join his side. She is horrified by his brutal actions, such as his sacrifice of one of his own men to her poison touch. Warner continues to put Juliette through sadistic tests of her power, and she and Adam begin putting together a plan to escape. They make their run for it during a drill, but during their escape, it is revealed that Warner is immune to Juliette’s touch as well. They escape and find a tank Adam hid; they flee to his home. There, Juliette is introduced to Adam’s younger brother. Soon a soldier named Kenji seeks refuge in their home after being tortured by Warner for information. He tells them to flee. Soon soldiers arrive at the home seeking the fugitives. Juliette, Adam, James, and the injured Kenji flee, but they are caught, and Adam is shot.

Juliette is dragged off, and Warner proceeds to hit on her, expressing his excitement over being able to touch her. She steals his gun while he is distracted and shoots him. She flees and finds a badly injured, tortured Adam. They steal a car, rescue James and Kenji, and flee to a safe haven that Kenji knows. At the facility, the injured are treated and Juliette is sedated after becoming frantic. She wakes up to a man trying to ask her questions, but will not answer anything until she sees her friends. Kenji assures her that they are safe. Soon, she is taken by her guard, Winston, to meet Castle, the rebel leader. Castle informs her that this location is called Omega Point, a safe haven for people who have special abilities. She is one of fifty-six gifted people. Castle is another, having telekinesis. He is organizing a rebellion against The Reestablishment. She learns that Kenji can become invisible, and Winston can stretch his body. Adam is healed, and Juliette is given a suit that allows her to touch others. Armed with the suit and a new confidence in herself, Juliette is ready to join the resistance.

Tahereh Mafi is an Iranian-born American author of young-adult fiction. Shatter Me is her debut novel. She has recently announced the series will be followed by another trilogy set in the same universe, with the first installment to be released in May 2018. She has received positive recognition for her commitment to a diverse cast of characters. She is married to author Ransom Riggs, the author of the popular Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children series.