Author: Harlan Coben (site)
Published: September 6th, 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
Buy: Amazon/ Book Depo/ Powell's
Series: Mickey Bolitar #1
Source: ARC from publisher
Synopsis: 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.(Goodreads)
Review: I want to preface this review with one statement: I am not a fan of thrillers or mysteries. In fact, I avoid them like the plague. This could be because they all seem to have old ladies or aging detectives for main characters. I'm really not sure where my aversion to them originated. I looked askance at the ads for Shelter for a long time before I broke down and requested it. I have no idea what made me decide to try it- maybe because it's a famous author trying out YA? Maybe because the main character seemed pretty bad-a? I'm not sure why, but I am sure that I made the right decision. Shelter was a great book- exciting, impossible to figure out, and full of great characters. It's been a long time since I've read anything with a plot that stumped me to this degree. I would get vague ideas about what might be going on, but it wasn't until the very end that things were explained- and definitely not everything. The best part? The explanation is crazy. It opens up a whole new world of questions and possibilities. I can't wait to see where things go. This was one of those books that is impossible to put down. There is no down time. Things are always happening. Every time I stepped away from the book (was forced to take a break), I spent the whole time wondering about what would happen next. It really got into my head. Even now, I can't quite shake Mickey and his world from my thoughts. I'm even thinking about picking up one of Coben's adult books- and that would be a pretty big step for me. You would think that a thriller would be entirely plot-driven, but the characters weren't just there to be swept away by what was going on. They were fully fleshed-out and just as important as the story itself. Mickey is one of my favorite YA male characters to date. He's very realistic, more of a guy's guy than a lot of the male characters out there. I loved his refusal to put up with nonsense and drama. I'm really hoping that this series goes on for a long time. There is so much potential for character development, so many different directions the story could go in.
In short, this was a great book! If you're not a big fan of thrillers (or even a thriller newbie like me), this is a great place to start. Beware- you won't be able to put it down. Start it when you can afford to spend the entire day absorbed in Mickey's world.