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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sheltered by Debra Chapoton

Hi guys!
Welcome back to the place where we respect your right to unplug this week (it's a national event, don't you know!) but only after getting your daily dose of bookishly good bloggy information...Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  ^_^

So, it's May 1st!  Exciting, right?  Yes and no.  I mean the year seems to be FLYING by...anyone else getting whiplash?  It seems like only yesterday that we were packing up the Christmas tree and breaking out the party hats for New Year's....crazy stuff.  Anywho, with the introduction of another month, I was looking forward to blue skies and sunshine type weather...typical for May around these parts but alas, Mother Nature had another plan.  Gray skies and rain are in the forecast (and happening right now) and while that might bring some down, it got me to thinking...."April showers bring May flowers".  It did start raining last night after all so perhaps we'll get those pretty flowers as an after effect while in the mean time we seek shelter from the rain.  Speaking of shelter...

My train of thought this morning led me right to the virtual doorstep of my review today.  I was in a quandry about what book to feature when my mind took that wandering flight mentioned and the mention of "shelter" lead to "Sheltered" and the rest is history!  Even the weather and the unusual interactions with people recently (which shall go unmentioned in detail) play right into the hands of this one.  So, without further adieu, I bring you today's book of choice....


About the book...
Living together unsupervised, five troubled teens confront demonic forces and are compelled to deal with their problems in distinctly different ways. Paranormal meets psycho meets Goth in this story of a supernatural haunting and budding love. High school junior, Ben, hacks into his step-father's real estate holdings and provides rooms in an old two-story house to various outcasts: the schizophrenic kid, the angry Goth girl, and the homeless girl who worships him. When Megan needs a place to live she comes to the rooming house with a different set of problems and the ability to confuse and attract Ben. One by one strange and mysterious occurrences stretch the teens’ beliefs in the supernatural. How they deal with demons, real and imagined, has tragic as well as redeeming consequences.

This is a story not about teenagers living the life but of broken hearts and minds finding a place to call home.  It takes some of the worst situations you can imagine in a great big bear hug of understanding and does its best to make things better.  Will they succeed?  Only time will tell, but the author certainly accomplishes shedding a little more light on the reality of her character's situations.  Let us continue...

Ben is a bright, compassionate young man striving to do right by those he sees in need.  Unlike many kids his age, his concerns are not merely about material goods or the latest trends but about bigger life issues and the fact that his own home situation has taken a nose dive recently drives him even more towards the extreme.  I'm not talking sky diving or drinking and driving here.  We're looking at a social experiment of sorts but with a real aim at giving a home, a SHELTER if you will, from the storm of life for those that have no where else to turn.  Basically the shoulder to cry on, the arm to lean on, the feet to stand on that he himself wished for many times in his own gloom.  Surprised?  Don't be...he's a real "grass is greener" type of guy in the world he's created...and rather resourceful as well.  Moving forward...

Many of the lost souls he takes under his roof don't even know the extent to which his kindness (and
deception...even in the name of "good", it's still sneaky and SO could have back fired!) reaches and to be honest, it's better that way.  They get the advantage of trying to live a normal life despite the cards they've been dealt.  Emily, Cori, Megan, Adam and Chuck all deserve that chance...even if fate has other plans for them.  As it seems, some of them are not simply dealing with their own personal demons but rather something a bit more supernatural.  *-*  Scary stuff...but it adds to the mystery of the story.  Continuing on...

Character wise, you can't help but feel SOMETHING for most of this motley crew.  Emily, her innocence wrapped around her like a protective blanket yet with a dark secret that invites an even darker presence in.  Cori, the polar opposite of Emily with her brash ways and forceful personality, the type of person who acts as though nothing and no one can ever harm her...with many lessons to learn.  Adam and Chuck...two brothers of one mind (sorta); though nothing can come between their bond of blood, that doesn't stop misplaced guilt from consuming the one on behalf of the other leading to a few scenes that could have been ripped from our own headlines of late.  Megan, though newest to the group, she too has lived a hard life and her toughest decisions yet are still to come.  Finally, there's Ben.  As we mentioned, he's a good kid with a big heart but even he has issues to deal with.  They are a VERY mixed bag and their interactions with each other can be very strained at times but it's for those differences and mishaps that we get to know them and develop our own connection to their story.  From pity to fear, sadness to elation, the emotional roller coaster is on the move and you'll get a good dose of all within.

Story wise, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around all that was happening.  It's told rather "secretively" with details about places and people only being revealed when seen fit and for the bigger picture person, it presented a challenge.  Now, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it because once things started to fall into place, I was with them all the way but it does present a stumbling block that some readers may wish for advance notice of (consider it given).  I definitely understand the author's choice in developing the story this way though as there are A LOT of secrets both imagined and real being dealt with here...and perhaps the most unsettling thing is that for the most part, they are REAL.

There ARE people dealing with multiple personality disorders.  There ARE those that inflict harm upon themselves as a reaction to situations they felt should have gone differently.  There ARE those that become pregnant as teens, are touched by tragedy too great for their minds to handle, have anger issues and so on.  Now, imagine all of that (and then some!) being under one roof at one time.  See why the "secretive" approach works?  If we explored everyone's story as a whole initially, we'd be reading a biography on all the members of the household long before we ever got to the actual story.  So despite my own stumbling and fumbling, I believe if one follows this twisted path of a book through to the end, you to will call it a success.

In conclusion, a story filled with the horror that reality can truly hold but infused with the hope for a better tomorrow, a way out of the darkness and back to the light, and a reminder that no one is ever completely alone unless they choose to be.  There are helping hands out there both community wise and one-on-one that are willing to go the extra mile to aid others in their life's journey...but you've got to take that first step.  A story I'd recommend for teen readers and beyond due to content as it ranges from reality to paranormal and back again.
Author Debra Chapoton

Ebook for review courtesy of author Debra Chapoton.  (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as the author's complete body of works, be sure to stop by her official site, like her on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.  This book was released October 2012 via Big Pine Lodge Books so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you.  Need a little online help locating it?  Here's a few options to get you started...Amazon, Barnes& Noble, Books-A-MillionIndiebound.

Until next time...happy reading!


....Petty Witter said...

Hmm, sounds like a read that is worth persevering with. I love books that though potentially depressing prove to be quite uplifting. Great review, thanks for that warning.

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