Book Review: Shelter by Harlan Coben

shelter_coverHave you ever felt like you have been betrayed, and overwhelmed with nothing but lies? In the realistic fictional book Shelter: A Mickey Bolitar Novel, by Harlan Coben, a teenage boy named Mickey Bolitar has to persevere through hardships to save his loved ones. Throughout his journey, Mickey must survive surprising challenges and overcome his fears in order to succeed.

Starting a new life at a different neighborhood and new school, Mickey moves in with his only other relative, his uncle, because his father died in a car accident and his mom moved to rehabilitation. Mickey meets a girl named Ashley who soon becomes his girlfriend. She suspiciously disappears and her permanent record is erased without a trace. Near his house, Mickey meets a person called “Bat Lady,” who turns his life upside down again when she tells him that his father is still alive and well. Confused and anxious, he wants to figure out how and why his loved ones vanished. Thrown into a life-threating mission to solve the crime, Mickey learns that he can’t trust those closest to him, let alone himself.

Harlan Coben, the author of Shelter: A Mickey Bolitar Novel, tells the story in first person, where Mickey is the narrator. I like how he expresses Mickey’s feelings and thoughts, which gives the reader a closer view and helps them relate to Mickey as a teenager. However, even though Mickey is the protagonist, he does seem like the villain sometimes, because he forces his friends to help him, even though their lives are put on the line. I would rate this book a 7 out of 10 because I liked the setting of the mystery, but there wasn’t enough action involved into the story. Suspenseful and fun to read, this book is for young adults who prefer a good mystery to get their minds thinking and plenty of detective work that leads to an unexpected ending.

-Riley W., 7th grade

Book Review: Shelter, by Harlan Coben

shelter_coverShelter is the first novel in Harlan Coben’s first young adult series, “Mickey Bolitar.”  Mickey, the main character in this novel and the series’ namesake, is featured in some of Coben’s adult crime novels as the main character’s nephew.  After these adult books became such a hit, the author then began writing this series in order to tell Mickey’s story.

Mickey Bolitar witnessed his father’s death and sent his mother to rehab.  He is then forced to move in with his uncle Myron and switch schools.  To top off a great year, the sweet girl he meets at his new school, Ashley, goes missing.  He makes it his mission to find her, no matter the risks.  After looking for clues, though, he begins to realize that the risks are much higher than he realized.

Mickey follows Ashley’s trail, which leads him into a seedy underworld.  The more he uncovers about Ashley, the more he realizes that she is not the sweet, innocent girl he thought she was.  In the process, he also uncovers things about his father that he never expected to find, as well as a conspiracy that makes him question everything he thought he knew.

This novel will leave your heart pounding and your anxiety level sky-rocketing.  It is fantastically written, with characters that are relatable and a storyline that makes readers beg for more.  It is a good read for both pre-teens and teens alike, as it contains little questionable material.  Some parts are a little intense, however, which might not be suitable for younger readers.  Overall, Shelter by Harlan Coben is a must read for anyone with a taste for riveting mysteries and unforgettable adventures.

-Kaelyn L., 10th grade