Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

February 1, 2013 Reviews 0 ★★★

Our lips touch and I know I’m going to split at the seams. He kisses me softly then strongly like he’s lost me and he’s found me and I’m slipping away and he’s never going to let me go.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. A place for people like her – people with gifts – and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from the Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

First, the obvious. That cover is ten kinds of horrendous. I was so disappointed that we didn’t get the reprints with the eyes on them. This is even worse than the original and generic girl-with-nice-dress Shatter Me cover.

Okay, now onto the content. It wasn’t perfect, and near the end I was mostly confused rather than entertained, but Unravel Me was a great read regardless. I can see why the title was chosen – Juliette literally unravels in this book – her psychology, her emotions, her physical strength, her relationships, everything just … falls apart. And put back all wrong. For about 80% of the book I was right on board with Juliette’s hesitancy, her decisions and mistakes and how she dealt with them. But in the last 20% I found myself getting frustrated with her and her inability to make decisions, to take control of her life. I wanted her to stop being a bystander in her own life.

After being kept in the dark about the Reestablishment, its history and how it works in Shatter Me, I really liked getting to know more about it in this book. We find out how the Reestablishment works, how it is organised, how it managed to take control. We also got a better look at what life is like for its citizens, and that probably had the most impact on me because it’s so desolate and desperate. It was especially poignant when Juliette realised that there are children in her world who think that it’s normal, who have never known any different.

Like most love triangles in YA I thought Juliette would focus most of her attention on the choice between Adam and Warner, but she instead focusses on which Juliette she wants to be: the ruthless, violent tool that Warner sees, or the sweet, kind girl – one worthy of redemption – that Adam sees. It was beautiful to read, and I think Mafi did a wonderful job of presenting that choice to her readers. Adam is still sweet, still loveable and hot and loyal, and I couldn’t help but melt every time he was in a scene. What can I say, I’m a sucker for blue eyes 🙂

Warner. There’s so much to say, so much to hate, and love, about him, and in the end I was just as conflicted as Juliette. He’s not evil (his father, however, is), and the more I learnt about him, the more I realised he couldn’t have turned out any other way, which was a heartbreaking realisation. To place this into context, I haven’t read the prequel novella, Destroy Me.

But – and those who have read the book will know exactly what I’m talking about – how did Juliette manage to forget about Adam?! For so long, and then suddenly remember and be all ‘woe-is-me’? And then there was me, screaming the whole time “Stop it, what about Adam?!” In the end I felt there were too many secrets between them, too much left unsaid and hidden.

I liked how Mafi began the book – after finishing Shatter Me so strongly and leaving Juliette feeling determined, needed, important, it was interesting to see how much difficulty she had adjusting to Omega Point. I think at times the people around her didn’t give her a break, that Castle, Kenji, and even Adam, should have tried to get to know her state of mind better, get her to open up, so she didn’t feel like she had to turn to Warner for understanding and compassion. There are some beautiful moments in the book, such as the tenuous friendship between Juliette and James, the times when Kenji is teaching her to use her powers, some great scenes with Adam (page 100 OMG). But a lot of the book was angsty, and while it makes sense and I expected it, it meant that all the action was, again, concentrated at the end of the book.

The unique style that we were introduced to in Shatter Me is present here again – Juliette’s thoughts are wonderfully encapsulated through long sentences, abrupt stops and striked out phrases and sentences. I love the way that Mafi presents her story because it makes it stand out from the other books I read, and it’s very evocative of Juliette’s state of mind.

Unravel Me hooked me from the very beginning, and I found myself unwilling to put it down for any length of time. It’s an exhilarating look into Juliette’s mind and her state of being, and I enjoyed it despite the slowing down of Juliette’s growth in the second half. I am looking forward to the concluding volume of the series, and witnessing the rebellion against The Reestablishment and what role Juliette plays in it. But Unravel Me definitely lacked the wow factor that had me desperate for a sequel at the end of Shatter Me.

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