Shelter Me by Alex McAulay (January 6th 2009—MTV Books)
Grade: 4 stars out 5
Summary: “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.”
Review: I have to say, when I first started reading Shelter Me, I had a vague reminiscence of The School for Dangerous Girls except it was for religion rather than violent girls. It completely baffled me and shocked me once I got into it. Underneath it all, there’s a diabolical plan that you would have never figured it out until the ending. It was so intricate, so completely well done that it took me a few minutes to wrap my head around it. The ending itself, however, was dull but it didn’t take away from the overall greatness of the book.
The beginning was amazing though! It pulled the reader right in—background, plot, and action, all in short amount of time.
I love the complexity of the character. Eileen and Kate were people that have so much depth to them. They each have their moments, their faults, whether that I want to hug them or smash their heads to the ground. Yes, that’s what I call dynamic there (the characters, not me).
What I found the most enjoyable was Maggie’s voice. It had the child like innocence but also brutally honest. There’s neither sugarcoating nor obsessively amounts of descriptions to the story. I’ve read books that had about half of the entire novel covered in pretty little words that does not do anything except dragging it on longer than necessary.
Overall: This small book packs a whole of action, adventure, and entertainment. Trust me, I had my doubts about this book since it was set during a war-time but really, it barely contained anything about it. So pick this book up! You’ll either love it or hate it, but you have to at least try it!