Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Shackled by Tom Leveen

ShackledTitle: Shackled 
Author:  Tom Leveen 
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: August 18th 2015
Pages: 224
Genre: YA Suspense/ Psychological Thriller
Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC 
From author Tom Leveen comes a taut, suspenseful novel about a girl’s abduction that leaves her best friend emotionally paralyzed, until a chance encounter points her toward the truth…and a terrifying new danger.

Sixteen-year-old Pelly has a master plan. After years of therapy, medication, and even a stint in a mental hospital, she’s finally ready to re-enter the world of the living. Pelly has been suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend, Tara, disappeared from a mall six years ago.

And her plan seems to be working, until an unkempt girl accompanied by an older man walks into the coffee shop where she works. Pelly thinks she’s seen a ghost, until the girl mouths “help me” on the way out, and Pelly knows she’s just seen Tara.

Too shocked to do anything, Pelly helplessly watches Tara slip away again as she steels herself against a renewed spiral of crippling anxiety. But rather than being overcome by anxiety, Pelly feels more energized than she has in years. Determined to track down enough evidence to force the police to reopen Tara’s file, Pelly’s master plan takes a turn for the dangerous.

Pelly decides she cannot be shackled by her past—and the anxiety, fear, and grief that comes with it—any longer if she wants to save Tara. But in seeking answers through whatever means necessary, she’ll come face-to-face with true evil. And not all the shackles are in her head...

I ended up with the ARC of this book without ever hearing about the book. Which was amazing. So when I found this book in my hands I found it to be a little treasure. I was excited to read it. It sounded pretty good. I read it, I liked it. It fell just a TAD short of my expectations but it was a good read. I liked the story and the very very flawed characters. It was a very quick read and it was enjoyble. 
Pelly has issues. They all started when she was a young girl and her best friend was kidnapped from the mall on her watch. Well they were together. They were young and Pelly, despite her age at the time, feels like it was her fault that Tara went missing. She has blamed herself for years. She has issues that stem from this, once is she is afraid of EVERYTHING. Major anxiety and panic attacks. But she has managed to keep a job at a coffee house. One day a girl comes in. Ragged, dirty, and Tara's age. She comes in with and old man and mouths HELP ME. Pelly believes she is her long lost friend Tara. She goes to police, nothing, she goes to Tara's mom, nothing, so she decides to get TARA back herself with the help of a very nice co worker, David. And so the story takes off for Pelly and David. 

It was good story.,It didn't hit all my marks for a suspense thriller but it was good. I actually felt more suspense then thrills in this book. Pelly was an unreliable narrator and it made the suspense even more because she was a bit crazy. yes CRAZY. I will for warn anyone who reads this book. Its not realistic. The kidnapping, real, the self saving not so much. So back to Pelly.She is nuts and she decides to do some pretty nutty things for someone who is scared all the time. She decides to save Tara which means, finding her, getting to her, and of course bringing her home. This is all stuff Pelly would never never do but she does. She breaks out of her fear, with the help of David her co worker, because the guilt over losing Tara is so huge. The guilt overcomes the fear. So watching Pelly take steps to get better was great. It was quick and a bit unrealistic but I enjoyed the growth.  It was nice not knowing how much was in Pelly's head and what was real. This kept me reading for sure. 

Pelly was not a nice person and yet David stuck around. I didn't understand this but it was sweet. There was a bit of romance. Not a lot but the beginning of something was there. Pelly was mean mos of the time and ungrateful but she did have her good moments and David fell for her. Despite her flaws. So sweet romance. 

The ending was very unrealistic, but it was good. It had great closure and some happiness. So yes unrealistic but good. This was my main complaint. I wish it had been just a bit more realistic. 

The story was good, the suspense was good, the pacing was good. I enjoyed the read and wanted to know what would happen.  I needed to finish the book, it kept me hooked. It was a one setting read and I would recommend it to those who like unreliable narrators, quick reads, and a suspenseful read.  

I liked it, it kept me interested and happy in the end. 

Tom Leveen has 22 years of theatre experience as an actor and director. He was the Artistic Director and a co-founder of two companies: Chyro Arts Venue, an all-ages nonprofit visual and performing venue; and Is What It Is Theatre, a community theatre that operated for 13 seasons. Tom lives with is wife and son in the Phoenix area. PARTY was his first novel, followed by ZERO (a 2013 YALSA Best Book) and MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRL, all with Random House. His fourth novel, SICK, a YA horror, will be released in Fall 2013 from Abrams/Amulet.


  1. Have you ever seen The Call? Great movie gem! I love hidden book and movie gems! I really enjoyed your review so thank you for sharing! I hope to see you around my blog today


  2. I loved Tom Leveen's Random and I think his writing style keeps you interested. This definitely seems like a good one. I like that the character isn't all the way there in her head and you don't know what's real from what is really taking place, and that makes me want to read the story and find out what happens in the end. It's interesting how in spite of her nuttiness that David still likes Pelly. That is...special. Thanks for your honest review.

  3. I really really like this author's books. So I'm excited for this to come out :) Sorry you didn't LOVE it, but his other books are really cool, I swear!

  4. I love unreliable narrators! I need to check this one out.....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  5. Hmm, I’m not sure how I would feel about this one, I mean, good story, good pacing, and I do like flawed characters (but only to some degree.) and it does sound good, so I guess for me, it would be all on the characters, especially with the unrealistic ending.  Glad you enjoyed it though!


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