Lauren's Reviews > The Shelter

The Shelter by James Everington
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Aug 24, 12

bookshelves: horror
Read in August, 2012

The Shelter is centered around at least two classic horror elements—a group of young boys in summer and an adult’s recollection of a supernaturally-tinged childhood incident—but Everington adds his own distinct tilt to matters. Besides, there’s a reason these are frequently used tropes: everyone’s childhood is haunted, isn’t it?

In the case of The Shelter, four boys—ostensibly friends, but without much real affection (one of Everington’s early subversions of the type)—set out to find an abandoned air raid shelter. There’s Alan, our narrator, a boy smart enough and thoughtful enough to clearly sense something wrong about the whole proceeding from the beginning; Duncan, the not-very-bright “best friend,” whose moment of brightness Alan vaguely resents; Tom, the oversensitive bully; and Mark, the leader, a sometimes-bully himself, but charismatic and thoughtful. They’re a delicately balanced group in the pressure-cooker situation of later summer boredom, with Tom’s temper and Mark’s unpredictable interest an overhanging threat—and then there’s the way the shelter looms in everyone’s minds (and Mark’s dreams), creating odd bubbles of impulsively violent thoughts…

It’s short, and I don’t want to give too much away. But it’s a well-written, psychologically realistic story with a great setting and great ambiguity. You’ll enjoy it.
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