Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shelter: A Mickey Bolitar mystery by Harlan Coben

recommeded for Grades 9-12

Harlan Coben’s first novel for young adults starts off fast and keeps going strong until the end of the story. Mickey Bolitar had a happy, globe-trotting family who was settling down in one spot while Mickey completed high school. But now due to a series of family tragedies—his father was killed in a car accident , and his mother is spending time in rehab to shake her drug habit brought on by the accident, Mickey finds himself living with his uncle Myron. On his way to school one morning, Mickey sees the Bat Lady, an old woman who lives in a run down, dilapidated old house in town. She tells him his father is not dead, but when Mickey tries to talk to her more, she disappears. Strangely enough the one girl at school Mickey finds attractive also disappears. But when Mickey tries to find out more about Ashley and her disappearance, he learns more than he bargained for about Ashley, the Bat Lady and his own family. He meets an eccentric cast of characters in town, from Spoon who has a tendency to spout tidbits of odd information at the wrong time to Ema, a self-proclaimed “fat girl” who dresses all in black, is covered in tattoos and has some secrets of her own to Rachel, the hottest girl in the school, who seems to have eyes only for Mickey. Myron Bolitar, the protagonist in Coben’s adult mystery series and Mickey’s uncle , has a supporting role in this story. He is trying to take care of Mickey but doesn’t really know how to be a parent so Mickey is given more freedom than most teens, therefore, giving him the opportunity to search for answers. Edgy and action- filled, the novel has interesting, likeable characters without provocative scenes or language and should fly off the shelves with readers of both sexes. The ending ties up some of the loose ends in the story but very definitely leaves the reader hanging for a sequel. Hopefully this will be first in a long series of Mickey Bolitar mysteries!

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