There’s not much that can tempt me to read a young adult novel. (If you don’t believe me, just check out the post I wrote on the topic over at our sister site, Heroes and Heartbreakers.) But I’ll read anything Harlan Coben writes, so I put aside my qualms and snatched Shelter up as soon as I could get my greedy little hands on it.
Shelter introduces Mickey Bolitar (nephew of Coben’s series protagonist, Myron Bolitar), and his two friends, Spoon and Ema (that’s Eema, like the feminine version of “emo.”) Although it does have a certain amount of the YA angst that can make me antsy, it is generously leavened with trademark Coben humor.
Mickey, who has moved in with his uncle following his father’s death and his mother’s removal to a rehab center, must change schools. He has only two real friends—the strange Spoon and the goth Ema—and a girlfriend who has mysteriously disappeared. But then there’s Rachel, the most popular girl in school, who seems oddly fascinated with him.
Two minutes later, I heard Spoon mutter, “Oh. My. God.” His eyes widened as if he were witnessing the dead being brought to life. I spun toward where he was gazing and saw Rachel Caldwell heading toward us. She was carrying a plate of cookies.
“Hi, guys,” Rachel said with a smile that didn’t just dazzle. It picked you up and shook you hard and then just dropped you back in your seat.
Ema frowned and crossed her arms. Spoon said, “Will you marry me?”
Rachel laughed. “You’re so adorable.”
A swoon. A Spoon swoon, if you will.
“I don’t want to bother you guys,” Rachel said, “but we were just having a cheerleader bake sale. Lame, right?“
“Very,” Ema said, arms still crossed. I shot her a look.
“Anyway, my cookies are pretty awful, so no one bought them, so I figured before I threw them out…”
“Thank you,” I said.
She quickly put them down on the table and shyly walked away.
”The future ex-Mrs. Spoon,“ Spoon said. “Or would that be fork? I must work on that.“”
”You do that,” I said.
The themes in this book are fairly adult, which may be why I enjoyed it more than most, or it may be that I’m just a Coben fangirl. Either way, if you’ve got a kid who’s going back to school, and you want to introduce him or her to the mystery genre, Shelter may be just the ticket.
Laura K. Curtis lives in Westchester, NY, with her husband and 3 dogs who’ve taught her how easily love can co-exist with the desire to kill. She blogs at Women of Mystery and maintains an online store at TorchSongs GlassWorks. She can also be found on Twitter and poking her nose into all sorts of trouble in various spots around the web.