Wednesday, March 5, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: SHELTER




SHELTER
Harlan Coben
Penguin Group
2012

Available: paperback, Kindle, hardcover, CD

     The opening paragraph of the novel sums up sophomore Mickey Boliter's world.

"I was walking to School, lost in feeling sorry for myself___ my dad was dead, my mom in rehab, my girlfriend missing___ when I saw the Bat lady for the first time."

    Mickey hasn't had what most kids would call a normal life. He and his parents traveled and lived all over the world. When Mickey finishes his home-schooled eighth grade year, the family moves back to America so he can go to high school. But then everything goes wrong. His father is killed. His mother can handle it and goes into a tale-spin that lands her in a rehabilitation center for drugs. And Mickey is left to live with his uncle Myron, who seems more like a stranger than
family. Plus he has to navigate being the new kid at school. During the student orientation for new students, he meets Ashley and suddenly things don't seem so bad. She's beautiful, fun and wonderful. They have three weeks of total bliss until Ashley disappears. It's almost like she never existed. He's determined to find her, no matter the cost. His quest for the truth is aided by an uneasy alliance with a couple of other loner kids. Together they are drawn into a seedy underworld of crime and he discovers Ashley isn't the girl the girl he thought she was.
    This was a compelling read from beginning to end. It's a coming of age story that's also part spy, part history, part mystery and true suspense. It's the first book in the Mickey Bolitar series. There are lots of twists in the plot that should surprise the reader. This could easily be made into an action packed suspense movie.

Target audience: Grades 7-11
Mystery / suspense: High
Kid appeal: definite
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