This fast paced cliffhanger is the second in a series of young adult novels based on Mickey Bolitar who was introduced in Coben’s adult novels as the nephew of Myron Bolitar. Mickey is a high school sophomore in New Jersey who has been recruited to join the Abeona Shelter which helps children in trouble. Together with his friends, Spoon, Emma, and Rachel, he tries to uncover the mystery of who shot Rachel, find out what the Bat Lady down the block is hiding, and navigate the ups and downs of high school. The friends keep secrets from each other but often show one another an open honesty and a strong desire to work together for the greater good. The Bat Lady’s initial discussion with Mickey, in which she insinuates that his father, who had died in a car crash, is still alive, frames the narrative. She presents Mickey with a picture of the infamous Butcher of Lodz, who Mickey identifies as the paramedic who took his father away from the scene of the accident. Breaking into the Bat Lady’s house in her absence, Mickey finds pictures of rescued children from the time of the Holocaust on and discovers that the Bat Lady was actually a teenage hero who saved a train full of children at the time of the Holocaust. The Jewish content and Holocaust connections are subtle, but would make Jewish teenagers of today proud of the protagonist’s courage, and his quest for the truth. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Seconds Away: A Mickey Bolitar Novel
Drora Arussy, Ed.D., is an educational consultant who specializes in integrating Jewish and secular studies, the arts into education, and creative teaching for excellence in Jewish education. She is the mother to four school-age children and has taught from pre-school through adult. Drora is an adjunct professor of Hebrew language at Drew University.
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