Unravel Me – Tahereh Mafi (Review)

Title: Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Harper (Division of HarperCollins), 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

Note: Here’s the series, since this is a review of the sequel of Shatter Me, and I’ve already reviewed the novella Destroy Me. Now you can see how many are in this series. I just checked out Fracture Me, which is book 2.5. This is rare for me as I rarely read novellas. But since they were written as the series progressed, I feel they are necessary to understand the plot. Without Destroy Me, the events in Unravel Me would have been a little disturbing.

Anyway, this is about Unravel Me, so I will continue…

Lovely cover, isn’t it? It’s what drew me to the series in the first place.

So I think I can do this without revealing too many spoilers for the first book: there are no mysteries that I will reveal that need to be kept under wraps, unlike the Jenna Fox Chronicles

Juliette and Adam have made the underground resistance their home. Omega Point, headed up by Castle, accepts Juliette despite her killer touch, and have even designed a special suit that prevents her from accidentally hurting someone. But her freaky superhuman strength is what they really want to explore. Though she constantly tries to train, she can’t seem to tap in to the power that has saved her on numerous occasions. She stays close to Adam, but he’s acting strangely. She can tell he still loves her despite their utter lack of privacy, but he seems to be carrying a burden, and Juliette cannot figure out what it is. She also notices that many of the kids and families that live there seem to stay away and give her funny looks. She’d be able to handle it with Adam behind her, but with all the test being performed on him to figure out why he can touch Juliette and not be affected, he’s barely around. When she realizes that she actually is hurting Adam, despite it being unintentional, Juliette makes the decision to separate from him to keep him safe. But without him and with Castle’s pressure that the Reestablishement seems to be getting closer to finding them, Juliette starts to fall apart. 

During a quick supply run, two of their own people get kidnapped, and the Supreme Commander, aka Warner’s father, wants to meet Juliette in exchange for the return of the hostages. When Warner comes into the picture, Omega Point is able to kidnap him, hoping to have a fair exchange. But Warner only has eyes for Juliette and seems no longer a danger to those around him. Now that his father is in charge, he doesn’t want Warner back, and the hostage trade idea seems to be useless. With their people still being held, and having no bargaining chip, Juliette is charged with interrogating Warner. But the more time she spends with this supposed villain, the more she sees herself in him. She also cannot deny the attraction to him, and the knowledge that he can touch her like Adam can is tearing her apart. Her heart wants Adam, but she cannot deny that her heart also longs for Warner. Can he change, or is he truly evil? And if he’s truly evil, what does that make Juliette?

This book rocked as much as the first one. Mafi has this great stream of consciousness writing that makes it easy to see and feel Juliette’s thoughts. You can feel her confusion, her pain, and her attraction to both boys. You can almost taste the lonliness she experiences knowing that people can’t touch her. Some passages are more painful than others, as you really feel the darkness that Juiliette experiences inside. I especially can relate to that hole in your heart that’s just looking to be filled. My ex-boyfriend Pasha (RIP) used to call it “skin hunger,” and I think that’s the perfect way to describe Juliette’s need for closeness. It envelopes you.

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

It’s not that it’s not appropriate: it’s just not classroom-relevant. There’s nothing here but a sequel to a story that involves some paranormal elements in a dystopian setting. The dystopian world-building isn’t complex enough or focused on enough to make it something you could use for a Unit Plan. However, for a creative writing class, especially in college, excerpts of the writing style could be used to demonstrate the differences in prose writing, with Juliette’s thoughts being more stream of consciousness than scripted. I would Xerox pieces (with the author’s approval, of course) to show that there’s many styles in creative writing and narrative writing. I also would encourage this as a recreational read.

Age Range:

Lexile.com suggests an age range of 14-17 (and up, though they don’t write that and I wish they did), and I agree, though o think it would still be okay for even 13. It’s not filled with language issues but has hints at intimacy, but even that is mild in comparison to some YA literature. The score is HL790L, which once again suggests that it’s a book younger readers could follow, but it’s not necessarily meant for them, and 790 is higher on the complexity scale than normal. Most YA books fall into the 600-700 range, so this text is a little more difficult for younger readers. So I say a higher level reader at 13 would be okay for this book, but nothing younger than that, and even at 13 it is expected to be more challenging to follow.

End Result:

I saw a Goodreads friend’s review, and she hated these books. Personally, I love them. I like the strike through font this is an example of something you would see in Mafi’s book because I think it adds to the uncensored parts of Juliette’s brain. It’s like all the strike through text is something Juliette is thinking but tries to dismiss like we all do.

I would give this next installment of the Shatter Me series (drumroll, please)…

★★★★★. The other books are already on my favorites shelf, so I’m just adding it!

38 thoughts on “Unravel Me – Tahereh Mafi (Review)

  1. I do like the covers, the buried-deep-girlie part of me just appreciates the beauty! 🙂
    Great review and you make the books sound quite intriguing, what with all the inner turmoil happening. Interesting…
    Also, ‘skin hunger’ is a pretty cool phrase!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The inner turmoil is pretty good.
      I have to give it to my dearly departed for coining that phrase. He was so poetic. And beautiful. I’ll share a pic of him someday. But I’ll always remember that he said he suffered from “skin hunger.” He came from a family that wasn’t very physically affectionate. They didn’t even hug.
      I miss him.
      But I love that phrase. I’ll always remember that.
      And your inner girl LOVES these covers! I know because she told me. lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah I’m so excited you’re reading these books! It’s one of my favourite series ever, I was nervous before clicking your review incase you hated it haha. I’m glad you’re loving it so far!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds a lot ‘deeper’than I initially had expected. And strike through is fantastic. I just love to use strike through. I was already interested in reading Mafi’s work because she’s a Muslim married to a non-Muslim (I think, at least), which is kind of awesome imho. I was wondering if her writing would be as bold as well :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s pretty bold. I love her writing!
      I didn’t know that about her…but I saw her picture and she is beautiful, btw.
      I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with…I don’t plan on reading her middle grade book Furthermore, but I hope she has something in the YA pipeline!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah I’m so excited that you’re reading these books, it’s one of my favourite series ever. I was scared to click on your review in case you didn’t like it haha. So glad you’re loving it so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people don’t like it. It’s definitely something that took me awhile to get into…the writing was so different than what I was used to, but then I realized that the stream of consciousness writing was a better way to connect, at least for me, to the character.
      But we all have different tastes in styles…like some books I just wouldn’t be able to get into.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a great review and I am so so glad you loved this book. This is one of my favourite series (the covers are what drew me to these books in the first place as well!) and I can’t wait to see what you think of the second novella and the third book. Ignite Me was my favourite of the lot so I hope you love it as much as I did.
    I liked Juliette a lot more in this book as well, and I agree with you on the strikethrough text as well, I feel it kind of added to the turmoil of her mind after she spent so long alone and locked up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yeah, I am reading Fracture Me next since it’s a quick one and the library had it available. I have a lot of reading to do if I’m going to get them back to the library in a couple days! I better get reading, but sleep definitely first!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kee The Reader

    Awesome review! I’ve had this series on my TBR list for the longest. Maybe this is the sign I needed to buy and start them. Also the covers are so beautiful! Covergasm 😌😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely deals with some complex themes. I know a lot of fans of this particular series now and they are in high school and above. It can be hard to find suitable material for the classroom as you want students to be engaged but you don’t want them uncomfortable either. Honestly, it’s been awhile since I have read this series, but I think books like Divergent are great for discussing dystopian futures and the implications of society…I think Mafi’s book is more suited to a college creative writing class as her writing style is quite impressive.
      I’d be happy to check out your review. 😊


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