‘Shatter Me': Get An EXCLUSIVE First Look At This Hot Dystopian Novel

At the rate dystopian YA novels are being published, we’ll definitely be planning another week (or six) around the theme this fall.

One dark tale of the future we’re looking forward to picking up come November is “Shatter Me,” by first-time novelist Tahereh Mafi. It’s about a girl named Juliette who has the “X-Men”-like power to kill simply by touching people. After doing just that, she’s been locked up in solitary confinement for 264 days by “The Reestablishment,” and meanwhile, the outside world is crumbling to pieces. It’s a killer premise, and the movie rights have already been snatched up by Fox. But we snatched up something of our own: The first look at the book’s cover (after the jump!)

Since we haven’t had a chance to read the novel ourselves, we asked HarperCollins designers Alison Donalty and Ray Shappell to explain how one goes about making a book like this stand apart from the pack.

“’Shatter Me’ is different from all other dystopian books because its barren, isolated and repressed landscape is only a piece of the story,” they told Hollywood Crush, via email. “It’s also about love, self-discovery and personal power. We don’t want to give too much of the story away here, but that last word, power, was our inspiration for both the cover art and the design.”

The shower of light emanating from the model isn’t a computer effect added after the fact, but rather a special photography method used by photographer Aurora Crowley. “He is a light painter, which means that he shoots one long exposure using an array of special lights in a completely dark room,” Alison and Ray said. “During the exposure, he literally paints with light on set around the model. Some of his exposures can be as long as five minutes and during that time the model has to remain utterly still. It’s amazing to watch!”

The designers said that Tahereh was completely on board with the idea of using Aurora’s effects for her cover. And the author gave us a little more insight into how to interpret the image.

“The Juliette on the cover looks imposing and kind of fierce in the best way possible; she’s channeling her immense physical power as well as her inner strength, and she’s ready to fight back for the first time in her life,” Tahereh wrote in an email to us. “The lights and darks in the shattering background really lend themselves to Juliette’s state of mind. She has the power to do good as well as the overwhelming, crippling power to do very, very bad. And she’s tempted by both. The only thing you can’t really tell on the cover is that Juliette has blue-green eyes, and she’s about 5’3″. Not super-tall or actually very scary-looking. Haha.”

Does this cover make you want to pick up “Shatter Me” in November? What’s your favorite YA book cover? Talk about it in the comments!