Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Enchanting Review: Shelter Me

Historical Fiction YA
MTV Books
ISBN# 978-1-4165-4583-5
274 pages
Paperback – Available January 2009

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Maggie Leigh is trying to live a normal life in the midst of World War II. But nothing comes easy now, especially with meager war rations and German bombs frequently falling on her hometown of London. Life has become dreary and boring with no friends, no chocolate, and no fun.

By chance, Maggie and her aunt Joan are caught in a bombing, leaving Joan comatose and Margie largely uninjured, but at the mercy of her overtly religious mother. Maggie’s mom sees the German bombs as divine punishment for Britain’s collective sins, including Maggie’s, and tricks Maggie into attending a secluded boarding school in Wales. Maggie is plunged into a world of lies and deceit in a delusional institution that encourages dementia and class warfare. Then a horrific incident forces Maggie and three other girls to flee the school. Wartime Britain, as they are about to learn, is a harsh and unforgiving world, and absolutely everything is at stake.

SHELTER ME is without a doubt a nonstop thriller with the added excitement of danger of war on the home front. I felt McAulay accurately portrayed most of the terrifying effects of modern warfare in real people’s lives. This novel’s strength was by far the unpredictable plot. The many twists and turns kept the story suspenseful and reader eager to know more. There was a little lacking in the character department however. Maggie shows herself to be a quick and resourceful thinker, but much of the rest of her character was conflicted. She is compassionate and caring to one friend, but quick to forget the others that get left behind in her escape. Maggie’s relationship with her zealously religious mother is never resolved, especially after the betrayal, much to my disappointment. But despite only mediocre character development, SHELTER ME is most definitely a thrilling read that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Alex McAulay has written several other thrillers for young adults, including LOST SUMMER and OBLIVION ROAD. You can visit him online at his website:

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
December 2008

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