Source- Review copy/ Indigo, imprint of Hachette UK
Synopsis: A young adult debut from internationally bestselling author Harlan Coben
Mickey Bolitar’s year can’t get much worse. After witnessing his father’s death and sending his mom to rehab, he’s forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools.
A new school comes with new friends and new enemies, and lucky for Mickey, it also comes with a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems like Mickey’s train-wreck of a life is finally improving – until Ashley vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let another person walk out of his life, Mickey follows Ashley’s trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that this seemingly sweet, shy girl isn’t who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey’s father. Soon, Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem like a luxury – and leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.
First introduced to readers in Harlan Coben’s latest adult novel, Live Wire, Mickey Bolitar is as quick-witted and clever as his uncle Myron, and eager to go to any length to save the people he cares about. With this new series, Coben introduces an entirely new generation of fans to the masterful plotting and wry humor that have made him an award-winning, internationally bestselling, and beloved author.
Review: Shelter is the first YA novel in the new Mickey Bolitar series by bestselling mystery author, Harlan Coben. Mickey is a fifteen year old boy who starts at a new school and has to deal with all the usual high school problems of making friends, avoiding enemies and finding his place. But Mickey is not really your average kid, considering his father recently died and his mother checked into rehab and he has moved in with his uncle who he does not regard highly. Then his new girlfriend Ashley goes missing and Mickey becomes the school detective to try and track her down.
At first I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy this novel as Mickey’s POV is written in a very matter-of-fact and proud manner which made it difficult to relate to him as a character initially. He did end up growing on me though as he is a caring person who looks out for those who don’t have the same advantages as him in life.
Shelter is very much a mystery novel in a YA setting and its unpredictability made it an attractive standout to other novels in this genre. I had no idea where the storyline was going for most of the novel which at times were frustrating because nothing was answered but at the same time I kept turning the pages to see what would happen next. I really enjoyed the secondary characters Spoon and Ema and they added a nice dimension to the story. The Bat Lady who implants the idea that Mickey’s father may still be alive is a quirky character who creates more questions than answers in this story. Ashley made only a fleeting impression at the beginning of the book so I didn’t have much of an allegiance with her and this made it difficult to relate to Mickey’s
persistence in trying to find her.
I like that this novel brought to the forefront many issues that teens are faced with; drug addiction, grief, loss and bullying. Shelter has intrigued me enough to want to read more of the series as it is released, but I do hope that some of the cliff-hanger questions are answered.
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