Shelter: A Book in Review


Editorial Editor

Warning: There may be spoilers ahead.

Listen up sophomores! If you take Mrs. Heefner’s Modern Literature – Mystery course during your senior year, you’ll get to read an amazing new young adult novel that will leave you wanting more.

In 2011, author Harlan Coben released one of his newest young adult novels, Shelter. Shelter is a fictional story full of mystery and suspense, and is always able to keep the reader’s attention.

Shelter revolves around Mickey Bolitar, a 15-year-old high school sophomore with a deceased father and a mother in rehab. Mickey’s quest in this book is to find out what happened to his new girlfriend, Ashley, when she seemingly disappears without a trace.

On top of that, Mickey also has to deal with a mysterious old woman who the town has nicknamed ‘Bat Lady.’ The woman drops a bomb on him within the first few pages with the lines, “Your father isn’t dead… He’s very much alive.”

This sends Mickey into another search, where he discovers who his mother and father really were before the accident happens that took his father’s life. After Mickey meets Bat Lady, his life will never be the same.

Now of course Mickey isn’t alone in all of this. Along his journey he meets two unlikely friends. The first is a freshman named Emma, or as other people like to call her, “Ema.” (Pronounced ee-ma).

Ema is a social outcast, partially due to her gothic nature. She is witty and sarcastic, but no matter what, she is there for her friends when they need her.

The second of the group is a boy who Mickey subconsciously nicknames “Spoon.” Spoon is very intelligent and is always spitting out random facts, and he is willing to do anything to protect Mickey and Ema, no matter how illegal or dangerous it is.

There are many things that I love about this book. There are not many books that are able to keep a reader’s attention like Shelter has.

Each new character brings more and more information and mystery into the novel. Almost all of the mysteries are intertwined with one another, which adds a whole new layer of suspense to it.

Coben did an amazing job when writing Shelter; each answer leads to a whole new set of questions. This kept me and others latched onto the book at all times, taking just days to finish the whole thing.

The interactions between Mickey and his friends are just incredible. Spoon always seems to have a new fact about the subject the group is discussing, and it always leaves the other two stunned for a few seconds.

The development of Mickey and Ema’s friendship is very similar to real life. When they first meet, Ema is irritated by Mickey’s constant friendliness towards her, dismissing it as him trying to be funny by picking on her.

As their friendship grows, it is obvious that Mickey and Ema definitely do not trust each other, but yet they still share secrets. These secrets strengthen their relationship and Ema soon becomes the first and only best friend who Mickey has ever had.

If I could erase all memory of me reading this book, I’d do it just so I could be as shocked and amazed by it all over again. This masterpiece of a novel is one of my favorites that I’ve ever read, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.


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