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Sorry guys but I did not get the answers for my ASK THE EXPERT INTERVIEW this month so there's no expert this week. But I have an important issue and a fabulous book to share with you.

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. Because I'm a monster.

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. 
All you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on March 24th. I’ll announce the winner on March 26th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

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.

If you mention this contest on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, please let me know in the comments and I’ll give you an extra entry.

Here's what's coming up next. Next Monday I'm interviewing Jenny Lundquist and giving away an ARC of SEEING CINDERELLA, one of my favorite books this year. The following Monday I'm interviewing Anne Nesbit and giving away a copy THE CABINET OF EARTHS, another book I really enjoyed.

I also have a fantastic set of interviews coming up in April. But I'll share those with you later.

Hope to see you Monday!


jaylen watkins said...

Excellent post. Much helpful content. Thanks for this.

Interview Questions

Wendy said...

Yes, I've read Ellen's post and I agree with it, as well as your thoughts on it here. I might be reading too much into it, but it's also disturbing to me that (from what I've seen) when the main character of a YA book isn't a 'perfect pretty white girl', the face on the cover is either covered and/or distorted so you would think the character was white (one example is Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon). So is that supposed to mean the faces of teenage girls who aren't white aren't worth seeing? That's just plain disturbing. Publishers should respect teenagers more than to think that they wouldn't pick up a book because the character on the front cover wasn't white.

Anyway...YA books I've looking forward to? Days of Blood and Starlight. :D (Thanks again for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Natalie, I really enjoyed it) I've heard a lot about Shatter Me, too, I'll definitely have to read it soon.

Carina Olsen said...

Great post :D YA books I'm looking forward to is Insurgent and Bitterblue and sooo many others. <3 Like City of Lost Souls :D So many amazing books coming out soon :) Thank you for this great giveaway. <3 :D
Love, Carina ~ carina-olsen@hotmail.com

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Too funny. I have Shatter Me in hardcover and ebook. I must make time to read it. :)

I also read an interesting article last week about minorities in literature. The article specified book covers.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Sounds like a great read. Sign me up for a copy of Shatter Me. The Hunger Games books are my daughter's favorites too. Have you ever read the Facebook comments viral post that went around awhile back about people's reactions to Cinna's and Rue's casting? A lot of wonderment at them not being white. My daughter and I can't wait to see the movie. I hope we aren't getting our hopes up too much?

Marta Szemik said...

Shatter Me sounds awesome.
IMO most of the casting for Hunger Games is very close to what I'd imagined while reading the book. (from the trailers) I'm looking forward to the movie.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love Tahereh's unique writing style, and you're right that it fits her story perfectly. SHATTER ME is a great book!!

I will definitely check out Ellen's post, Natalie. Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention.

Vivien said...

Excellent post! I personally cannot wait for Bitterblue, Blackout by Mira Grant. I'm just bloody addicted to Mira Grant :D

Adam is.....sigh....amazing.


deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Jemi Fraser said...

It's so frustrating when the cover images don't match the main characters. That doesn't say a lot of good things about our society. I've discussed this with the kids in my class - and they're horrified things like this happen. I hope they'll be able to impact change as they grow!

Steve MC said...

About Ellen Oh's post, Adam Heine is doing a giveaway to help bring attention to it here.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Thanks for sharing all of this, Natalie. I already have a copy of SHATTER ME, so please give it to someone else. Haven't read it yet, though you make it sound really exciting! Ack! There are just too many good books out there!

Will go read Ellen Oh's post after this. Glad someone else is bringing this situation to light. The Shelftalker blog (run by Flying Pig owners Josie and Elizabeth) has discussed this several times.

I'm looking forward to GRAVE MERCY, INSURGENT, and SMALL DAMAGES!

Speech Delay Mamma said...

Really interested in reading this one...when I get my TBR pile down! I'd love to win it.

chanelle(@)chanellegray(.)com and I posted to twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ChanelleGray/status/179234867945541632

Add My Heart Be Damned to your Goodreads shelves!

LTM said...

On your first point about the lack of "color" in our book covers, I couldn't agree more. I will be interested to see what happens with THG, and I hope your daughter sees a trend toward change in this area.

As for SHATTER ME, I've been wanting to read that book so much. I've heard lots of things about the style, and I know from her blog Tahereh is uniquely entertaining. I bet it's very good. Thanks for the review, Natalie! :o) <3

CYP @ A Bookalicious Story said...

I've been wanting to read Shatter Me for quite some time now!! It sounds really unique, and I'm definitely intriued! As for books that I'm looking forward to, there are mainly five: Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout and Elemental by Emily White. :)

Thanks for this giveaway!


Barbara Watson said...

This sounds intriguing--especially the style in which it's written. Thank you for pointing that out.

I'll be highlighting Jenny's book the following Monday, 3/26, and Cabinet of Earths is my next read!

Lisa Gail Green said...

First of all, I love Ellen! She's awesome. I know her from the Enchanted Inkpot, and the topic is very timely and important. It's quite shocking actually that it's still like that, particularly in YA! Hopefully it will change soon. Also, I love Tahereh!! So yeah for reviewing her book. :D

cleemckenzie said...

Congratulation to all the winners!

ali cross said...

Congrats to the winners! I'd LOVE to win SHATTER ME. It sounds fantastic. I thought Ellen's post was great, too. I totally agree--WHITE does not sell books, characters/story/voice do. I wish that would be more widely accepted.

CrystalGB said...

Shatter Me sounds great. Thank you for the giveaway.

jpetroroy said...

I found Ellen's post fascinating. It's so important for teens to see themselves represented in images as well as words


Lydia Kang said...

I read this a few months ago. Totally entertaining. :)

Jessie Humphries said...

We did SHATTER ME for my book club this month. It was my pick because I loved it so much. It didn't get as stellar reviews from some others in the club, but whatever, I told them where to stick it! j/k ;)

Kristin Lenz said...

Thanks Natalie for your discussion about diversity and sharing Ellen's post - it's important.

And thanks for Under the Never Sky! It's always fun to win a giveaway.

Unknown said...

SHATTER ME sounds like an interesting book.

Stina said...

Things haven't changed since I was a teen. But back then, it was only magazines that were lacking in diversity.

I love Shatter Me.

Carl Scott said...

I also read Ellen's post and re-tweeted the link to it to my twitter followers. It is a fact that we all need to be reminded of the unconsciously racist things that we occasionally do. Only by being aware of our current limitations can we become better, more aware people. Thanks for speaking Ellen and thanks to all of you for listening.

Carl Scott said...

Oh, and I should stick my email address in here just in case I win the book.

Lioness said...

I read Ellen's post and I agree with her... I am of Asian descent, and there is rarely a book where one of the main characters are Asian or the people on the cover are.

I am also looking forward to Bitterblue, Days of Blood and Starlight, and Insurgent.

cigam9 at gmail dot com

I follow by GFC and email.


Rosi said...

What an interesting concept. Shatter Me sounds like great read. Thanks for running the give-away.

Natasha said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I follow by email.

Veronika said...

Awesome post! Thanks for making it! I'm recently so obsessed with YA books! xD I can't wait for the Insurgent to come out! I haven't read shatter Me yet, but I've heard about it so much I'm dying to read it!

Following on GFC as Veronika and subscriber by email.

verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I've never noticed book covers vs heroine descriptions, but I'll keep an eye out now. As for Hunger Games, that seems pretty spot-on in terms of casting. Granted, Jennifer Lawrence isn't really olive-skinned, but that's just an undertone of Caucasian skin. (Mediterranean types are typically olive-skinned.)

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Shatter Me sounded like a fabulous read. I would love to be entered in the giveaway. I enjoyed reading your entire post.

I follow by GFC and email.

lehmankt (at) yahoo (dot) com

Mary Preston said...

I will go & read the post by Ellen.

SHATTER ME is on my wish list.

GFC: Mary Preston


PuttPutt1198Eve said...

I follow you via e-mail. I've read such good reviews of Shatter Me that it would be really great to win a copy! I could share it with both of my daughters. Thanks

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Natalie, Thanks so much for the shout out! I can tell that you are like me as a Mom, we feel for our kids fiercely! And this issue is more important to me now than ever as my oldest is reading YA and noticing and feeling unhappy with the cover trend. I hope that publishers recognize that it isn't just minorities that they hurt, but all kids because this constant bombardment of beautiful girls can take a toll on all our young.

Thanks again for being such a great support!

Nikki said...

Congrats to the winners. I recently had Shatter Me out of the library but was unable to get to it in time and there were holds. So, alas, I still have yet to read it!

Kali Skittles said...

I'm super excited to read this! It sounds awesome.
I follow via GFC: Kali Skittles

Thanks for the giveaway!!

Kali Skittles said...

I also did an extra: https://twitter.com/#!/Malyjah/status/179954131233017856


Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

the books sounds amazing. It came out when I was very busy and couldn't read it, but I'd love to! As for Ellen's post, I agrre with her. More diversity, please!!!

Sarah Ahiers said...

Shatter Me has been on my list to buy for FOREVER!
And i definitely agree with Ellen. My characters usually span a lot of differnet races, but i'm sad to realize i haven't written an asian character in my last two novels. I'll have to rectify that.

Christina Kit. said...

This one looks awesome! And what a great point you and Helen bring up.

GFC Christina Kit.

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway! :)

Follow by GFC(Koll) and email


Natasha said...

I follow by email. Thanks for the giveaway!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Doodle said...

I've been meaning to pick this up and read it! Thanks for the giveaway!!
GFC - Doodle

Munnaza said...

I agree completely with Ellen's post. I'm so sick of seeing the same pretty white girls (all in gorgeous gowns, even if that has nothing to do with the book at all, though this is another issue entirely) on the covers of every book, especially when the heroine is specifically described to be of another nationality or race entirely. I think this is a trend and a mistake that needs to be rectified immediately. It isn't fair to other people, it isn't fair to the author, and it isn't even fair to the book or character at all. Thanks so much for this post, and for giving away a copy of SHATTER ME. I'd love to enter!

The book I'm most looking forward to reading this month is the new Gallagher Girls book, Out of Sight, Out of Time. I can't wait to check it out. I think it came out yesterday.

Following your blog via GFC as infalliblyyours or Munnaza.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Great review! And thanks for highlighting the post on the lack of diversity in YA media. It's a huge problem. AND, it completely misrepresents a book. The cover should be an accurate representation of the book. Period.

I already have Shatter Me, so you don't need to enter me in the giveaway, but I wanted to say that I agree with you about Tahereh's writing style. I love it. I can't wait for the sequel!

Dovile said...

I like YA and sci-fi, so this is one that I just must read:) I'm also looking forward to Fallen In Love by Lauren Kate.

GFC follower (Dovile)

spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

ShotgunGuyIsCool said...


GFC TEo Pei Yun

Lexie@BookBug said...

A cross between the Hunger Games and XMen?! How cool is that!! I would love to win this book!
GFC: Lexie@BookBug
Tweeted at https://twitter.com/#!/LexieBookBug/status/180495690965856256
lexie.bookbug at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

i heard an amazing thing about this book!
and thx for giveaway
GFC: Dominika Couf
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/DominikaCouf/status/181141794090795008


polaris said...

i've read her post and it's very sad and disappointing. i'm asian and even though i live in asian country, where most of you think that discrimination is very likely to happen, unfortunately that isn't the reality because there's racial discrimination =(

anyway, thanks for this giveaway! i've been wanting to read this book =P

R.A.Desilets said...

I've been wanting to read this book for awhile. The last book that had the strikeout lines in it that I read was Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls. It gave it an interesting element to the book, so I'm curious to see how another author utilizes the same technique.

rdesilets (at) gmail (dot) com

Irene E. Jensen said...

I cannot wait to read Sweet Evil! I've waited for sooooo long now! Shetter me is on my tbr list too :)


Crochet Addict UK said...

Sounds fantastic, would love the chance to win it! Thanks for the giveaway (Susan D)
susand1408 at googlemail dot com

Stephanie Garber said...

Great post! And thanks for the giveaway!

A couple of YA books I'm looking forward to reading are: Enchanted, Sapphire Blue and of course Insurgent!

Amy S. said...

I read a library copy of this book in December and just loved it. I really loved how the author wrote the villain of the book. He was definitely not a cardboard cut-out bad guy. I kept wanting him to turn out "good." I can't wait for the next book and would love to own a copy! Thanks for the chance to win.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book! I've heard lots of good reviews on this book and how unique the writing style of the writer <3

Shainers said...

Wow! Thanks for the giveaway!!!! This book is on my to get list, also shared this on twitter here is the link:

Thanks again!! :D

Rachna Chhabria said...

The premise of this story is super. I like the title too. The Strikethrough idea too is unique. I would love to read it.