First, I'll announce my giveaway winners.
The winner of UNDER THE NEVER SKY is:
The winner of SAVING FORT SMOKY is:
And the winner of THE PRINCESS CURSE is:
Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so your books can be sent to you.
Before I talk about SHATTER ME, I want to mention a fantastic blog post last week by Ellen Oh about how Asian Americans are a silent minority that still face discrimination and about how YA book covers are filled with pretty white girls even when their characters are not white. I really recommend you read Ellen's post. My daughter is adopted from China and my husband is Hispanic so we are definitely sensitive to issues like that.
My daughter has come out of a movie more than once commenting that the skin color of the actress or actor did not match the true color of the character she read about in her favorite book. We'll have to see what she thinks when she goes to see THE HUNGER GAMES in a few weeks. It's her favorite book and I hope she's not disappointed. Because it tells her when it's wrong that Asians and minorities are not valued in our society enough.
The trend Ellen talks about sends such a terrible message to our teens whether or not they are minorities when the covers do not celebrate our diversity. And also when they focus so much on beautiful girls. What is that telling our teen girls to value? And how are they supposed to feel when they don't meet that standard? Because let's be honest, most of us don't fit those standards even though we're beautiful in our own way.
Anyway, this is a sad trend in publishing and in movies that I hope changes soon. I'd encourage you to read Ellen's post.
Today I'm spotlighting another fantastic debut YA book, SHATTER ME, by Tahereh Mafi.
Here's a blurb from Goodreads:
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.
I found Juliette's power to seriously injure or kill someone with her touch very unique. At the beginning of the book, she's been locked up in isolation for a long time until she gets her roommate Adam. At first, she's pretty withdrawn, insecure, and guilt-ridden over her powers and how she's used them. I loved watching her transformation as a character as she became more comfortable with her powers.
Adam's such a solid nice guy who is dedicated to Juliette. You can't help but like him and wish you were involved with someone like that. As their relationship develops, Juliette struggles with her feelings for him and the fact that she'll injure him if she touches him. What a dilemma!
Warner, the antagonist, is equally interesting. He's cruel, but obsessed with Juliette and how she can help the The Reestablishment. I was left wanting to know more about him and what his connection to Juliette or her powers might be at the end of the book.
Tahereh Mafi has a unique writing style that worked well for the story. Here's an example:
In 17 years I've never talked to a boy my own age.
There's lots of Juliette's internal thoughts with strikethroughs. What a creative and brave way of writing. And it worked fantastically with this story.
I want to share this with you so I'm giving away my copy of SHATTER ME.
Let me know in your comments what you think about Ellen's post if you've read it. Also I'd love to know what new YA books you're looking forward to in the the next few months.