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Scott Reads It!

I blog over at Scott Reads It! I'm a reader, a writer, a blogger, and a humanitarian. I'm prone to fanboying about the latest nerdy films and books on a consistent basis! I'm nerdy and I know it.

Shelter (Mickey Bolitar Series #1)

Shelter - Harlan Coben Check out Scott Reads It! for reviews, giveaways, & more! Harlan Coben is an internationally bestselling author and he has written so many acclaimed mystery novels. Shelter is Coben's first book that is targeted towards the middle grade and young adult audiences. Shelter is a decent stab at providing younger readers with an intriguing mystery with twists and turns. Shelter is definitely not of the best mysteries out there for teens, there is too much reliance on high school and mystery cliches. Despite it's faults, I did enjoy Shelter, though not as much as I would have liked. Since it's Coben's first YA novel, I'll cut him a bit of slack. I don't know how familiar he was with YA before writing Shelter, but my guess is that he's kind of new to the genre. Shelter feels very condescending and I really felt like Coben was talking down to teens in this book. I really didn't understand why Coben felt the need to define random words to readers, the words he defined were simplistic enough that I think most teens would already be familiar with them. I felt insulted personally as both a teen and an avid reader. I really think Coben wasn't knowledgeable enough about YA audiences to write Shelter. There are just so many cliches in Shelter that the opening to this novel almost made me want to quit. There are the idiot jocks, the popular girls, and of course the stereotypical outsiders in Shelter. Since Mickey is a new kid at the school, he quickly gets on the bad side of the jocks and he fits in immediately with the odd outsiders. I can't tell you how many times I have seen this in pop culture and media, this trope is so overused and just really stale. Something that bothered me even more than the cliches was the badly written dialogue. I can't even describe how lame and cheap the way the dialogue in Shelter sounds. I'm sorry but this is NOT how teens talk at all, the characters sounded so immature for their ages. I think as the novel progressed the dialogue slightly improved and it didn't bother me as much later on. The mystery and plot twists saved Shelter and completely redeemed it for me. The mystery develops a bit slowly because the author spends a decent portion of this book on character development. Once the mystery fully kicks in, I was just amazed by the shocking developments and plot twists. The way Coben managed to connect small intricacies and details and weave them into a shocking mystery totally made up for the lackluster beginning. I can definitely understand why Coben has become such a popular mystery writer after reading Shelter's mystery. I'm convinced that Coben's YA books aren't for me, but I'm definitely going to check out his adult books. If I do read Seconds Away, it will be in the distant future when I have more of an open mind towards Mickey Bolitar. Shelter may not be the magnificent book I was hoping, but it has tempted me to read more mystery. I guess reading Shelter was a win-win situation for me, despite my ambivalent feelings toward the book.