Tahereh Mafi: Fantasy in Mind and Magic in Words

Posted on Sep 07, 2017

Nerdy, awkward, and always standing out from the crowd—this was how Tahereh Mafi described herself back when she was a kid. Fast-forward to the year 2017, this geeky kid is now a famous and successful author, best known for writing young-adult fiction novels.

Tahereh Mafi at http://www.taherehbooks.com/

Tahereh Mafi is the author of the popular Juliette Chronicles series, which includes the books Shatter Me, Unravel Me, and Ignite Me. She’s half of a power couple in the literary world, having been happily married since 2013 to Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. She is an Iranian American, born in 1988 to a family of seven, where she is the youngest child with four elder brothers.

Named as New York Times and USA Today’s best-selling author, Mafi is the kind of person who seemed to have been blessed with the gift of language—she is known for her varying levels of competency in eight different languages. She even spent an entire semester in Barcelona, Spain, where she had the chance to study Spanish literature in its native form.

In 2011, Mafi published her debut novel, Shatter Me. Although particularly immersed in writing and literature, Mafi admitted that writing proved to be difficult at first. She went to a liberal arts college but never took up a creative writing course. In fact, when she was just starting her career as a writer, she wrote about five manuscripts to better understand how to write a book.

Determination and inspiration were what led Shatter Me to succeed in getting published. After various heartbreaks and rejections from publishers, Mafi never stopped trying, and finally, Shatter Me was able to hit the shelves. It received mixed reviews from critics, but nonetheless, it became one of the most widely praised and recommended books in the young-adult fiction genre.

Shatter Me is the first book in the Juliette Chronicles. It is a young-adult dystopian thriller that follows the story of a seventeen-year-old girl, Juliette Ferrars, with the supernatural ability to kill people with a single touch. Juliette, jailed and isolated for 264 days, turns to describe the chaos and turmoil around her as she struggles to cope with reality and learns to mistrust everything around her, including her own words and thoughts.

The Juliette Chronicles Book Cover

The format of the book was also what made it such a unique read; along the pages, there are some words, lines, and passages that have been crossed out. Mafi explained that using strikethroughs in the pages was not exactly a conscious decision from her, but it came out naturally as she was writing the book.

A few weeks after its release, the foreign rights of the book Shatter Me had been sold to about nineteen countries. It was included in BuzzFeed’s Best Young Adult Books of All Time list and received an Honorable Mention award at the Arab American Book Awards. Since then, the Juliette Chronicles has stretched from the three books of the original series to another three accompanying e-book novels. Another trilogy from the Shatter Me universe is set be released on May 2018, and it was reported that this will follow the same cast of characters as the former trilogy.

Apart from the Juliette Chronicles, Mafi’s other books include Furthermore, a middle-grade fantasy novel, and its companion, entitled Whichwood. Through her books, Mafi has proved to her readers that there is magic in storytelling, and she makes sure that her unwavering interest in human nature and people’s ability to overcome great and difficult obstacles are strongly reflected in all the books that she writes.

Furthemore Book Cover

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