Mickey Bolitar Review and Giveaway (US ends 9/25)

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Mickey Bolitar tote bag

containing the new novel

Seconds Away
(Mickey Bolitar, Book 2)


(Mickey Bolitar, Book 1)

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About Seconds Away

When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.

Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But with danger just seconds away, how can he protect them when he’s not even sure who—or what—he’s protecting them from?

About Shelter

The stunning young adult debut from international bestseller Harlan Coben is now in paperback!

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. Fortunately, he's met a great girl, Ashley, and it seems like things might finally be improving. But then Ashley vanishes. Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that Ashley isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

About the author

Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of numerous adult novels, and the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award, and Anthony Award – the first author to receive all three. His books are published in forty languages with over 47 million copies in print worldwide – and have been #1 Bestsellers in over a dozen countries. He lives in New Jersey.

Quick Links:
www.mickeybolitar.com Series Official Site
www.harlancoben.com Author Official Site
@HarlanCoben Author Twitter
Goodreads: Shelter | Seconds Away

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Shelter (Mickey Bolitar, Book 1) by Harlan Coben
Publication date: 6 September 2011 by Penguin Teen
ISBN 10/13: 0399256504 | 9780399256509

Keywords: Contemporary, thriller, missing persons, friendship
Category: Young Adult Mystery Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Audiobook, eBook
Source: Review copy from Penguin Teen

Alethea's review of Shelter:

I try not to expect too much from mysteries, as I'm usually the type to guess outcomes too early. I didn't need to worry with Shelter. Harlan Coben knows how to twist and turn a plot so you can't see the end until it's too late. I started this book at about 3 in the morning and was so creeped out, I had to put it down until daylight.

Shelter starts out like a ghost story slash urban legend, but morphs into an entirely different tale tied into the history of the Holocaust--stories of danger and altruism that blend into myth. I really had to tamp down the urge to Google elements from the story to see whether they were real or not. (Luckily I've read enough James Rollins novels to appreciate that it's better to wait until the end of the book to look things up.) To my delight, a restaurant mentioned in the book is real.

Mickey is a likeable kid who has been through a lot of traumatic experiences in a short time. He not only watched his father die in a terrible automobile accident, he also is watching his once-vivacious mother disintegrate under the massive pressure of grief and addiction.

In a few ways, he seems a little too good to be true: he has inherited terrific athleticism from both sides of his family, is handsome and smart, and gets along with all the right people. Most of the time I'm torn between liking him a lot and disbelieving how easily he takes things that I expect the average affluent and good-looking white male teen character to have problems overlooking: class, race, and appearances. When his sort-of-girlfriend disappears just a couple of weeks into the school year, he befriends the dweebiest kid and the fattest girl in school, and takes the bus to Newark to play ball in a rough neighborhood. He can barely believe it when the hottest girl in his grade wants to partner with him on a project. The only counterbalance to his awesomeness is how aloof and secretive he is with his uncle Myron (from Coben's adult mysteries), and the bad decisions he makes which will make readers chew their nails down to stubs in suspense.

The friendships he forms throughout the book not only fill up his day and distract him from the pain of losing both of his parents; they also lead him on the hunt for the missing girl and strange goings-on from his father's past. I have always admired the way Coben manages to juggle character, plot, and theme while keeping the story moving at just the right pace. I enjoyed the secondary characters, the dialogue, and the ease with which the story is pieced together. The twists and turns were exhilarating and I am excited to start the next book.

I originally thought to recommend this to reluctant readers with an interest in sports, but after finishing the book I think anyone who appreciates conspiracies and secret societies (think Lost) will really dig this mystery. Mickey also goes looking for answers in some pretty troublesome and seedy places (like a go-go bar, for instance), so I'd recommend this to younger readers with caution.

If you can suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the thrill of secrets, spies, and lies that keep this fast-paced novel moving, you'll really enjoy Shelter. And lucky you, if you're just discovering Mickey Bolitar now, you won't have to wait for the next book in the series, Seconds Away (in stores September 18).

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.