Booktalking "Shelter" by Harlan Coben

  • by Miranda J. McDermott

    Shelter by Harlan Coben, 2011

    Dealing with a dead father, a mother in rehab and a missing girlfriend might sound like a drag. The false promises and the perfection that you want to believe can happen in the fit-and-start world of rehab just lead to more disappointments. However, getting a true friend like Ema shines a light into all of this darkness. Ema has a suspiciously large number of tattoos for a 14-year-old. She says that getting parental permission is key.

    Spoon, so nicknamed because he offered Mickey a used spoon in the school cafeteria when many new spoons were available, is another of Mickey's friends. Together, Spoon, Ema, and Mickey search for the missing Ashley. They have a lot of adventures in the process and get acquainted with new people. Among these are the local police chiefs, which is not exactly the smartest idea.

    The kids also had fun in school. A description of Physical Education class reads as such:

    "Mr. Owens, a PE teacher with a smile that looked like it'd been painted on by a drunk clown, started off by trying to fire us up."

    Part mystery, at times it reminds one of Perry Mason, MacGyver, Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, or the Boxcar Children mysteries. The lighthearted humor reminds me of the Princess Diaries series.

    Shelter by Harlan Coben

    One of my teens recommended this as a "really good book" to me, and I was hooked on the very first page by the first mention of the Bat Lady. I knew that this kid must have the same ridiculous sense of humor that I do.


    The arrival of the police., Digital ID 1217207, New York Public LibraryMy Interest in Crime: I have always been fascinated by crime. It probably didn't hurt that I had a father who was a true crime buff, and there were plenty of true crime novels in the house I grew up in. Too many, my mother said on more than one occasion. He also worked as a sort of auditor of financial institutions, so he was privy to fraud and criminal activity in his professional life as well. I am fascinated as to why people commit the crimes that they do.

    This led me to take criminology classes as an undergrad. I had an undergraduate internship with cops, and I have visited several jails in different cities. I was an intern as a psychotherapist for psychiatric inmates while I was pursuing a master's degree in forensic psychology, as well. Talking to murderers and wife beaters as a 21-year-old? You know that I wasn't turning that job down for the life of me. I still watch true crime shows, such as Body of Evidence: From the Case Files of Dayle Hinman. Dayle Hinman is an FBI-trained profiler. I also served on a grand jury last autumn. I am a big fan of books of the pioneer of psychological profiling in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), John Douglas.

     Prince Henry Before Judge Gascoigne., Digital ID 834285, New York Public Library