Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shelter by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is an author better known for adult novels and now has created a series (I'm assuming) for young adults. I've enjoyed his other novels and this one is no different. I look forward to more in his young adult area.

Mickey's life has changed now that he's living with his uncle after his father died and his mom entered rehab. He's in a new town and school, simply trying to fit in. Since that's not enough for the sophomore to deal with, his girlfriend (Ashley) has suddenly gone missing. Then, one day on the way to school, the crazy "Bat Lady" stares at him from across the street and tells him that his father is still alive. As he tries to figure out how what she said is possibly true, Mickey becomes friends with the school losers (Ema and Spoon), enemies out of the basketball captain (Mickey longs to be on the basketball team) and the Chief of Police, and discovers that Ashley's disappearance is far more complicated than he ever imagined.

There is a lot going on in this novel in terms of mysteries. There's Ashley's disappearance, Bat Lady's cryptic message, and the mystery of a butterfly image that keeps appearing places. If I recall correctly from other Coben novels, he does throw a lot in, but it keeps the story going and all comes together nicely in the end. This novel is the same way. It all comes together, although at the end you're left with a bit of a "Huh?" reaction, but I think that's just to create a cliffhanger for another novel (fingers crossed). Everything else gets settled except for a new detail that gets thrown in at the last second, so overall it just creates more appeal. The novel definitely kept me going. It is a quick read with more than enough for teens to relate to (even if some of the moments can be a bit stereotypical - like the dumb, jock bully). Mickey had been introduced in an adult novel (Live Wire) and when the novel began it was in the middle of a lot of things that had already happened (dad's death, mom's rehab, etc.). At first I wondered if I should have read Live Wire, but eventaully things were settled and everything worked out.

I really enjoyed this novel. It had a great mystery that kept on going. You also grew to care about the characters which is important in a successful novel. I definitely look forward more from this series.

No comments: