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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Shelter by Harlan Coben (Mickey Bolitar #1)

Shelter (Mickey Bolitar, #1)Shelter by Harlan Coben

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb: 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.

Read as an audio book.

Shelter overlaps Live Wire (Myron #10), giving the reader a slightly different point of view on how events unfolded. Shelter is touted as a YA, but I think there's too much Myron background mixed in for this to really be a true stand alone, much less a pure YA stand alone.

I have very mixed thoughts on this book. Mickey is a mini-Myron but with a sullen, sour attitude - no surprise, he's a teenager who has just had his world upended. Mickey is coping with sophomore year in a new school, under supervision by a guardian he detests (Myron), his mother is in rehab, his father is dead, a couple of jock bullies, the Chief of Police has a hard-on for him because his uncle is Myron, uptight teachers, girls with pretty blue eyes, homework, and now, the mystery of the Bat-Lady and the butterfly.

The teenage petulant attitude grated on me. I couldn't empathize. I really didn't like high school and I really didn't want to re-read about it. When I didn't have to listen to the whining (and there seemed to be a plethora of whining), it was a decent story.

And that's where the flip side comes in, if there had been less whining and petulant, sullen, angry teenager, this would have been a four or five star read for me. It was an interesting plot, with some good twists and turns...but, damn...the teenager aspect. Yes. I KNOW this was a YA. I've read other YA. I get the point of YA. I didn't like this YA.

I think if I hadn't read the Myron series, knowing the background that brought Mickey to this point and why Myron was doing what he was doing, maybe I could have empathized with Mickey. As it was, I couldn't get beyond Myron's self-centered anger.

Lastly, a kudos to the narrator for doing a very fine job with the voices. Well done!

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