Title: Shelter Me
Author: Alex McAulay
Publisher: MTV Books/Simon and Schuster
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 6, 2009
Plot - 14/20
Characters - 17/20
Writing - 16/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 7/10
Recommendation - 6/10
Maggie Leigh just wants to be a normal teenager, but when German bombs tear apart London during World War II, her ultra-religious mother sees the destruction as divine punishment. She sends Maggie to a remote boarding school in coastal Wales, supposedly to keep her safe, but also to keep her in line. The school is creepy, the headmistress is a lunatic, and the students range from spoiled rich girls to speechless trauma victims. But when a tragic accident happens on the beach, Maggie and three friends are forced to flee the school, plunging into the nightmarish world of Europe during wartime. Now every decision Maggie makes is fraught with danger, and living to see another day depends on how quickly she can think and act...and how far she's willing to go.
I've read one of McAulay's previous books, Bad Girls, and I absolutely loved it. I've heard nothing but great things about this novel, so I had high expectations. But this novel completely disappointed me.
This novel started out exciting with hope and like I was expecting. McAulay's British was spot-on, which is expected when McAulay holds a Ph.D in British Literature. But soon enough I was disgusted and disturbed. This novel was completely absurd, psychotic, and demented. I don't really want to ruin this for you so I want explain why, just that a whole lot of it was so inane and not realistic or astute at all. The ending was seriously messed up, it wasn't happy and it felt rushed and vapid.
The reason it even got a C+ was because the writing was actually pungent and ample. I loved Maggie as a character and I thought her actions were genuine. The whole originality is a plus, even if I didn't care for it. I also liked the bit about the fact that it was taken place in Britain in World War II, so that was really neat.
I wouldn't recommend this really, I mean there were a few high points to it, but a whole lot of it was just absurd, but I think if you really want to read it, go for it, but I wouldn't recommend buying it.
ETA 2/19 7:21 AM: I just wanted to tell you guys that this review I wrote seconds after I finished the book in January. I was still really mad about it then, so I'm kind of harsh in this review.