Friday, August 19, 2011

Shelter by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is one of my favorite authors and has now branched out into the YA genre. 

The character of Mickey is a likeable 15 year old with a unique blend of friends. Mickey has an unusual upbringing and never seems like a high school age student, but I can picture his friends, Spoon and Ema in any high school setting. Most of the book is a traditional mystery/thriller that takes Mickey and his friends in search of his missing girlfriend, Ashley.  There are strange happenings around an old house and rumors that a mysterious “bat lady” lives there.   Later in the book I thought the story got a little choppy and a holocaust connection seemed too contrived, but the story is engaging and entertaining. 

I have read several Coben books, but none with these characters.  The character of Mickey’s uncle, Myron, is in other Coben adult thrillers, but unfortunately in Shelter he was just a name with little character development which made him seem cold and indifferent.  The characters Spoon and Ema were both interesting and likeable, especially Ema as the outcast in high school.

I would recommend the book for young adults, but not for children.  The plot contains quite a bit of violence and takes Mickey to strip clubs.

In a good book series, each book should also be a standalone with a plot that can expand into the next book. Each book should also have a satisfying ending, and that is where I think Shelter fell a little short.  I liked that at the end of Shelter there were new questions about Mickey’s father that will be picked up in the next book, but I was disappointed that there were questions about Ema and other characters that were asked – but never answered in this book.


  1. This YA book looks interesting and I really like the name- Spoon. It sounds like a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I like your honest review and how you mention that the end fell a little short because everything didn't come together. I also like when everything comes together at the end of a book.

    I found you through Book Blogs and signed up to follow you. When you have a chance- please stop by the blog for my middle grade novel that I am hoping to get published.

    Take care-
    Jess- although I may show up as Fairday, the main character from my novel. I can't figure out why that happens sometimes and I can't fix it. :)

  2. It wasn't that the end of the book was bad, it was the last paragraph that was left without purpose or connection. Did I miss something in the story, I don't think so. Why add the tie-in to the ambulance/holocaust person at the end, which made an excellent book fall flat? After reading and enjoying Shelter, and ready to suggest it to my grandson, it left me flat and disappointed at the very last sentence.


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