Harlan Coben’s young adult debut might be a new direction for the internationally best-selling author, but Shelter treads familiar and much-loved terrain. Coben has written 10 books on wisecracking sports agent Myron Bolitar, and the end of the latest, Live Wire, left the Bolitar legacy in the hands of Myron’s nephew, Mickey Bolitar.
Mickey resembles his uncle in many ways, including his 6-foot stature and basketball wizardry. Unfortunately, the two don’t get along—but after Mickey’s parents vanish from his life (his father dies in a car accident; his junkie mom admits herself to rehab), he’s stuck with Uncle Myron as a guardian.
Despite Myron’s experience in digging himself out of danger, Mickey has no interest in seeking help from his uncle when things start to get weird at his new high school. His sort-of-girlfriend vanishes and the crazy Bat Lady who lives in a dilapidated mansion sends him a disturbing message: His father is not dead. Mickey is soon sneaking into strip bars, questioning tattoo artists and chasing down the suited man who seems to be following him—all in search of the truth.
In true Coben spirit, Mickey acquires two ragtag sidekicks in the course of his search: Ema, a sharp-tongued, overweight Goth girl, and Spoon, a geeky guy whose easy access to security tapes and personnel files secures his place on the team.
Shelter has all the twists and turns of a Coben classic, but on a teen scale—including run-ins with the hottest girl in school and confrontations with a brutish bully. Full of mystery that stretches back through Mickey’s and Myron’s past, Shelter will turn more than a few young readers into excited Coben fans.