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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Thrilling Thursday: Review of Shelter by Harlan Coben

What a thrilling start to this theme I've got for you! I was very excited to be invited to Indigo's launch for bloggers last week, and one of the books I picked up to review was the wonderful Shelter.

To be published by Indigo on Sept 15 2011

This is the first YA book by Harlan Coben, featuring his new 15 yr old character Mickey Bolitar, nephew of Coben’s well-known Myron Bolitar.

My verdict: a fab, gripping thriller for teens and adults alike.

Mickey Bolitar is in a new town and a new school, living with an uncle he barely knows, as his father is dead and his mother’s in rehab.  The book opens with an encounter with the local crazy lady (known as The Bat Lady) which freaks him out, and we learn that his new girlfriend, Ashley, has disappeared.  Clearly, he is driven to investigate.

The characters in the book are awesome and engaging. Mickey’s witty narration strikes a perfect balance of being cool whilst still having natural emotional reactions – Coben is not afraid to have his narrator show fear, allowing him to feel like a genuine teen in a highly unusual situation.  The friends he picks up to act as sidekicks are quirky and interesting characters in their own right, and I can’t wait to see how they develop in further books. But the plot, the action and the amazing blow-you-away ending are what you will really remember.

I’d read some of Coben’s adult Bolitar novels, although I’m not up to date (hanging head in shame), so I was looking forward to this and hoped it would be good. I did have some concerns about the way the series is going to build on his existing one: namely, that the troubleshooter uncle is rather a convenient plot device to fix any sticky moments.  O ye of little faith! This was absolutely not the case and Myron Bolitar is not a major player in the plot, nor does he ‘rescue’ Mickey or solve anything for him. If anything, he’s just the annoying 
parent-figure, and perhaps even more so as he doesn’t really have a relationship with Mickey.

Thank you to the fabulous Indigo team for providing me with the book for review.

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