Shelter by Harlan Coben
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads: 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.
My take: I happy to report that I am not as strange as I had originally thought. Looking over the reviewers of this book, it was not uncommon to pick up the book to read a couple of pages then set it down two hours later, finished and feeling satisfied. Maybe starting the book at 11:30 at night wasn't a great idea, though.
A well written book speaks for itself and this one definitely does. The protagonist is tall and nomodic Mickey who is currently living with an estranged uncle, mother in rehab and father dead as of a few months before. Mickey has spent the past 15 years traveling the world with his parents doing humanitarian work. What kind of humanitarian work? That, dear reader, is the crux of the book.
This Young Adult novel is appropriate for my children. I feel confident loaning it out to the ever-present neighborhood girl who wants a good read but I will have to answer to her mother if it isn't appropriate content. That said, slight spoiler alert, the book is about white slavery and people trafficking, although details are not provided.
Mickey is a funny and enjoyable protagonist and I thoroughly enjoyed being in his head. His sidekicks, Ema and Spoon are incredibly enjoyable, although I just remembered that Ema's story is never revealed which is now rankling me. Ah, well. I still liked her and she becomes Mickey's friend, something he hasn't had due to his Nomadic life. Spoon is hilarious.
Bottom line: Excellent story, action packed, has a social conscience (the humanitarian work), provides some historical value, excellent character development, loved the protagonist, enjoyed the high school drama and Ema, Spoon and Mickey's overall dialogue. Clean read albeit violent at times. Highly recommend.