Inside the Mind of My Second Favorite Character | Shadow Me

Shadow Me (Shatter Me, #4.5)  by Tahereh Mafi
Release date: March 5th, 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 112
Source: Bought it
Fan favorite character Kenji Kishimoto narrates this gripping companion novella to Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, set during the explosive events in Restore Me!

Juliette is still reeling from Warner's betrayal, and Kenji is trying to balance his friendship with her with his responsibilities as a leader of the resistance against the Reestablishment. Things get even more interesting when an unexpected person from Omega Point’s past surfaces.

The ending of Restore Me left readers gasping, and this novella full of Kenji’s signature sass and big heart is the perfect story to tide fans over until Defy Me, the shocking fifth book in the Shatter Me series, hits shelves in April 2019.


To say that I was excited to read this book is an understatement of the year. I pre-ordered it last year and I was so happy when it finally showed up on my Kindle, ready for me to read on March 5th! Woohoo! It was one heck of a ride! 

This book basically takes place during some of the last events in the previous book. To be precise, after Juliette just got drunk for the first time ever in her life until that time when she almost killed everyone (no surprise there) at the end of the book.

This review is going to be a full-on fangirlish review. I'm not going to lie. I LOVE KENJI KISHIMOTO. He's my second most favorite character in literature, the first one being Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles. They have very similar traits, though, which probably explains why both are my favorite characters. They're both devilishly handsome, funny, witty, and highly flirtatious. However, Kenji is Asian while Thorne is American.

In this book, we get to know Kenji MORE and that means I FELL IN LOVE EVEN DEEPER WITH HIM. We got to know more about his dark past, the reasons why he's so upbeat and humorous all the time, and all his insecurities. 

I'm lonely but I'm not alone. My body works, my brain works, I'm alive. It's a good life. I have to make a conscious effort to remember that. To choose to be happy every day. If I didn't I think my own pain would've killed me a long time ago.
The truth is, he's not happy. He just masks it well and actually decides to act happy on the outside because otherwise, he'd be miserable and he wouldn't be able to handle it.

What pains me the most, is that Kenji longs for someone, anyone. He wants someone to love because, deep down, he knows that once he loves someone, he would love so deeply it wouldn't even be humanly possible.

I'm a big, raw, bleeding heart, and I spend my days pretending not to notice that I want more. That I need more.
Maybe it sounds weird to say, but I know I could love the shit out of someone. I feel it, in my heart. This capacity to love. To be romantic and passionate. Like it's a superpower I have. A gift, even.
Reading this part puts in agony because I know exactly how Kenji feels. I feel the same way. I also know I would love the heck out of someone, but I have no one to share this love with. Which is sad, because then I think Kenji and I would be a perfect fit but the fact that he's fictional makes me even more pathetic.

However, in this book, we also get to see the not-so-smooth Kenji. He acts like a dumbfounded idiot around the girl he currently has a HUGE crush on, Nazeera. This feels like a breath of fresh air because, after all,  who doesn't want to see the smoothest, most flirtatious, funniest, most confident guy at a loss for words?
That's when she laughed for real. Out loud. She bit her lip to cut the sound and she shook her head as she said, softly, "You're not messing with me, are you? You're just really bad at this."I blinked at her. I didn't think I understood the question."You're terrible at talking to me," she said. "I make you nervous."I blanched. "I didn't I mean, I wouldn't say that y"
I also enjoyed reading him trying to deny his feelings. Kenji clearly has zero experience when it comes to love. He tries to shrug his feelings off like it's just some mosquito annoying the heck out of him by swatting it away.
But then Nazeera's hand is on my arm again, and my body stiffens, like I'm trying to contain something beyond myself. It's wild. Desire like I've never known it before. I try to remind myself that that's all this is, that it's like what J saidI don't even know this girl. I'm just going through something. I don't know what, or why, but I'm just, like, clearly infatuated. I don't even know her.
While I did enjoy reading about Kenji's infatuation towards Nazeera, I felt some deep friendship brewing between Kenji and Warner. Warner slowly but surely opens up to Kenji about who he really is and Kenji can now see the broken and lovable part of Warner hidden underneath that perfect boy demeanor. It's obvious that they care about each other in their own way. Here is an excerpt from their interaction after Warner and Juliette's breakup.
"You had a hard day yesterday," I say. "It's all right to have a rough morning, too."After a long pause, he says, "I've been up for a while."I blow out a breath. It's nothing I wasn't expecting. "I'm sorry," I say. "I get it."He looks up. Meets my eyes. "Do you?""Yeah. I do.""I don't think you do, actually. In fact, I hope you don't. I wouldn't want you to know how I feel right now. I wouldn't wish that for you."That hits me harder than I expect. For a moment I don't know what to say.
Besides all those new relationships brewing, there's not much else. We just get to see the same things unfold through Kenji's eyes. It's interesting because, through Juliette and Warner's POVs, we can only see their infatuation towards each other. But I'd pay ten times more if it'd mean reading the whole series from Kenji's perspectives. I really hope Tahereh adds some chapters in Kenji's POV in the sequels because otherwise how else am I supposed to see Kenji and Nazeera's relationship develops?

Our rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

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