First Pages: Shatter Me
Since we are doing a read-along of Tahereh Mafi’s A Very Large Expanse of Sea, I’ve been curious about her bestselling fantasy/adventure/YA romance series that starts with Shatter Me, especially as Mini Me has been reading the trilogy over and over again. And Mafi just did a cover reveal this week of Defy Me, the fifth book in the series, which will be released in April.
[Side note: if you pre-purchase Defy Me, you can win a special edition eyeliner set through Epic Reads. Mini Me wasn’t too excited about it, but I’ll take the eyeliners, thank you. I’m assuming they coincide with the eerie, yet beautiful eyes that are featured on each cover of the series.]
Mafi doesn’t disappoint. She starts Shatter Me with an imprisoned main character, Juliette, who happens to get a cellmate in the first chapter. A boy. Yikes!
At this point, we don’t know why Juliette has been kept prisoner, and we don’t know why, after 264 days of isolation, she gets a cellmate. As punishment?
Juliette’s point of view features crossed-off thoughts, as well as lyrically beautiful imagery. I’m hooked right away.
I love the images of leaves having wings, wings that Juliette is likely dreaming of having herself. I love the crossed-out sections of her true thoughts, instead of just writing them italicized. Somehow it works for this voice, this character, this series. I’m looking finding out more and getting hooked on this series too.
I included the sneak peek excerpt at the front of the novel as well in the images above, because it’s just as enticing as the first pages.
To check out other books in our First Pages series, click here. Some of the novels are ones I’ve read before, but I enjoy doing a ‘true’ first pages critique like here for Shatter Me, in which I don’t know anything about the book so I’m truly seeing if the first pages are strong enough to make me keep reading. It’s a great learning tool as a fellow writer to see what works and what doesn’t, especially as we may end up cutting what we think our first pages will be.
First Pages note: I started the First Lines and First Pages series in November 2017 as a homage to National Novel Writing Month. In the tradition of one of my previous writing groups, I decided to 'share' the first lines of successful middle grade and YA novels in order to figure out what made them successful first pages. I posted as many as I could in November, and now post the series on the first of every month (or close to it). Please let me know in the comment section if you have any First Pages book recommendations.