25 October 2012

Sheltered by Debra Chapoton

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.

There's a reason I never watched any of the Jason movies (weren't there seven of them or something?) or The Exorcist.  Somehow, there's a huge difference between the urban fantasy world of Twilight and City of Bones with the vampires, werewolves, and warlocks and what Debra Chapoton brought to life in Sheltered. 

I was glued to the pages, but mostly out of fear of stopping than morbid fascination.  I am a total scaredy cat, but this was a whole different kind of creepy.  It was psychological.  Debra Chapoton paired the physical demons with the mental ones and the effect was spine tingling.  Maybe my lack of spooky experiences made me uber vulnerable to suggestion, but regardless, the effect was immediate and lasting.  I almost couldn't get through it because I didn't want to be freaked out.

Sheltered surprised me with how it appeared to be ordered chaos: a string of seemingly linear events tossed in with mystery but all told with an omniscient POV that I haven't seen outside of the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan.  In a single scene, the POV would switch between three different characters seemingly at random.  At first I was a bit put off by this because it would happen without pause: no marker that said it was now being told from Ben's POV.  An interesting style that, I think, worked for the story.

Sheltered took on a different kind of story for me.  I was more concerned, mentally, for the creepy things going on than for the development of the characters or the world-building.  Only upon reflection did I think about how much I didn't really like one of the characters, or the romance.  It was the tiny details of the possessions that I found myself focusing on, not the characters themselves.

While Sheltered was not a story I would seek out myself, I think anyone who wants a good spooky read for Halloween has found a good one.

Book Info

  • pages - Kindle edition, 236
  • published - October 2012
  • publisher - Big Pine Lodge Books
  • genre - urban fantasy
  • received via - author
  • rating - 4/5