Sheltered: When a Boy Becomes a Legend

Jacob Paul Patchen
TouchPoint Press (2021)
ISBN 978-1952816352
Reviewed by Maddie (age 13) for Reader Views Kids (02/2021)

“Sheltered: When a Boy Becomes a Legend” by Jacob Paul Patchen is an action-packed dystopian thriller about a group of kids trying to save war-torn America.

The story is narrated by thirteen-year-old James, who leads and protects a group of kids known as The Risers after the events of The Day leaves America in complete devastation with its people imprisoned or killed. The Risers believe the adults of the world are to blame for the war because of their politics and hate. Now it’s up to The Risers to restore America. With his mom dead, and a father that walked out on the family two years ago, James had to grow up fast and feels a special bond to the kids in his care. He wants to provide them with hope for the future, but how can a bunch of kids save America?

This story is so different from anything I’ve read lately and I really liked it because it almost feels like a story inside of a story. It starts out with James telling his story to the young kids of the Risers about what happened to him on The Day and alternates between his telling of the story taking us back in time, and the current events as they try to stay safe and fight the powers set on destroying America. It then explodes into an all-out battle to take back America and it’s non-stop action and intensity as the fighting comes to a head.

I like the way the story is written because the author knows how to keep the reader interested in the action and by going back and forth from telling his story to fighting the battle, James makes the reader feel like they are right there in the action. I couldn’t really tell what period of time the story is set in but it feels like a combination of things from the past and the future, which keeps it interesting.

My favorite character is James, of course. He acts like a tough guy but he’s actually very sensitive and has a big heart. He also has a great sense of humor and made me laugh a lot throughout the story. James is torn between missing his father and hating him for walking away from the family. But, he wants to live up to a lesson he learned from his father, “We are all given a space in life to fill…and it’s how you choose to fill that void, that will determine the difference in becoming a man or a legend.” He’s obsessed with becoming a legend even though he doesn’t think he’s a hero – but he is.

Overall, I think “Sheltered: When a Boy Becomes a Legend” by Jacob Paul Patchen is a great book for teens that like science fiction and apocalyptic stories with non-stop action and drama. The ending was unexpected – in a good way – I just wasn’t ready for the story to be over and hopefully there will be more to come. There is a lot of violence throughout the story so I’d say this book is for older teens and young adults.

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