This was weirdly unbelievable, but a lot of fun to listen to. The basic idea is that a boy gives a girl a free AOL CD In 1996 and when she logs on, she finds herself looking at FaceBook 15 years into the future. She sees her own profile and believes that her future self is unhappy so she changes current decisions and then logs on again to see if her future is any better. Her friend Josh likes what his future looks like, so he keeps trying to stop Emma from changing things.
The story was fun and unique. I really enjoyed it. One of my favorite scenes was when they read a Facebook comment that said something like "Looking at the planets....poor Pluto" and Josh says "What the hell happened to Pluto?" Funny.
I bumped off one star for just a couple of quirks that weren't quite right. For example, in 1996, the GUI Internet was a little further developed worldwide than the AOL-only version in the book. The characters acted like the Internet was new. Also, there were a few times when the author led the characters toward unnatural decisions that I had a hard time swallowing. Nothing huge, just like when they realized they could see their futures, rather than diving into everything in the short online time that they had, they suddenly decide "Let's not look anymore today." It wasn't realistic. If you could see into the future and you're not sure if the web page will be there the next time you log on, are you going to just turn it off? It's not a huge thing, but enough that I couldn't justify a full five stars.
I'd definitely recommend the book, even for adults who were around 15 years ago and remember the time period.
I didn't know that this was a spinoff from an adult series. Based on reviews, Harlan Coben is a talented and popular writer who decided to give YA a try. If Coben is as good as his fans indicate, it didn't show in Shelter. Perhaps he should have started with a standalone novel with a fresh storyline. This book was all over the place; the actions were unrealistic and even ridiculous in some places. Some of the characters like Spoon and Ema could have been likeable, but I didn't really get a chance to know them. The rest of the characters were absurd, even Uncle Myran, who apparently was from Coben's previous books. The storyline never passed the "who cares" test. Why did we care about saving Ashley? We never met her and only heard bad things about her. She got a few lines in the end and that's it. As for Mickey, he too could have been likeable if he wasn't so stupid. I mean really, you go to an old lady's house, try to break in and call out "Hello! Bat Lady!" His actions were forced and silly. "I tried to open the door but there was no doorknob." Huh?? Too many times he said "I didn't know what to do." Um...isn't that what the author is for? To tell the characters what to do? How can you NOT know what to do? Anyway, I apologize to Coben. I think he's probably a great writer. This story just wasn't good.
I enjoyed the story. I learned a lot about coffe and craved it all the time while I listened to this book. I did not like the introduction of the ex husband into the plot. That just felt awkward. But I loved all the rest. Rebecca Gibel did a nice job narrating. She wasn't the greatest at male voices, but I guess that's hard to pull off when you're a woman. I do think it's a mistake narrators typically make. Women try to over-narrate men (by making them sound kind of dumb) and men try to use high pitched voices that make female characters sound like cartoons. It wasn't the worst male-voice impression I've ever heard. In fact, Gibell is one of the better narrators.
I wasn't sure how to rate this book. I hate to give the story a 5 star, because of course it was a horrible story. Unfortunately, that horror was real for poor Jaycee, who did a wonderful job writing and narrating this nightmare. To be honest, it was difficult to listen to, not because the story wasn't engaging, but because of what the child had been through. But I kept thinking, she had to live through it. She didn't have the option to turn it off just because it was unpleasant. Because of that, I stuck it out. Jaycee is a brave young woman to come out like this. I am glad she made the decision. To stand proud despite the tramatic cards dealt her. I hope she decides to become a full time writer, so she can write about happier things, stories she doesn't have to live through, books she can close when she feels the need.
I've been reading other reviews about this book, hundreds of them. Most of the reviews praise the book's brilliance. Did I even read the same book as these reviewers? I've read (or listened to) a handful of Shusterman's books. I gave them all five stars. He has quite an imagination. A good storyteller. That is why Everwild was such a huge disappointment. I liked Everlost but didn't really like the character of Mary, who was way too creepy for my taste. No problem since she was a villain and only appeared occasionally. This book had way too much Mary and not enough of the Nick and Allie who we'd grown so attached to in book 1. The points of view for this book were all over the place. The subplots were all over the place. I felt like I was the skinjacker. Allie and Nick were a disappointment. They were so strong and clear minded in Everlost; in Everwild, however, they were useless. I never understood the purpose of Milos. First he likes Allie, and then he likes Mary. It's like Shusterman didn't know himself who to hook him up with. Nick wasn't much better, vowing to destroy Mary even though he kind of, sort of loved her. Ugh. Halfway through, I still intended to give it a 3-star. But it just kept going downhill. In fact, the whole storyline went way past unbelievable and straight to ridiculous. Yes, I know it's fiction. But GOOD fiction can seem believable no matter how unlikely the situation. I held out, though, because I had high hopes that the ending would make up for my incessant boredom and irritation. Unfortunately, the ending was consistent with the rest of the book--confusing, erratic, and inconclusive. Everlost should have been a stand-alone novel, not a trilogy. I look forward to Shusterman's other books, but I don't think I can suffer through another skinjacker sequel.
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