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