One of my new favorite authors is Charlotte Stein. She not only made my auto buy list, but she’s become one of those authors I study for their mastery of craft. There are authors that have such an intimate way with setting, those with a gusto for story, those who can twist a plot like nobody’s business. Charolotte Stein is one of those that has a way with point-of-view. Whether she writes in first person or third, the pov is deep and involving. I forget I’m reading. Moving my eyes over the page is not work. My husband has to repeat my name to get my attention. She’s that good. Her characters feel so real. I feel so much for them. I wonder when they wonder. I doubt when they doubt. I need when they need. It’s very, very cool.
Sheltered is the latest Charlotte Stein I’ve read, and it was a five-star keeper of a book. Evie lives under the oppressive thumb of a religiously crazy, over-the-top, control freak father, but a punk she sees selling pot to a neighbor kid gets her dreaming about impossibilities that might actually be possible, if someone showed her the way with patience and kindness instead of forbidding rules and disproportionate punishments. She’s never seen a movie before, never read a magazine, never, never kissed a boy or really ever touched one. But in her dreams, she explores things she would never have the courage to explore in real life. Until Van. Punk Van. Big, intimidating Van…Tender, cautious Van who is the exact opposite of her father from his dyed-hair, tattooed packaging to his artist’s soul.
Sheltered is a story about the gifts of love and freedom when all one has known is conditional tolerance and repression. And it is beautiful.
Enjoy these favorite lines of mine, and pick up Sheltered if you haven’t already. It’s wonderful. It’s enthralling. It’s erotic in the sweetest imaginable way. It’s a must-read.
“I just wanted to…” he started, but didn’t finish. As though maybe he was having trouble making actual sentences too. As though he was like her, in some small way, and for the rest of any time they spent together they were just going to have to speak in monosyllables and the occasional grunt.–p.19, pdf version
“It’s Tyler. Vandervoort—but usually people just call me Van.”
She should have known he’d have a cool name. Not like Eve, all ready to do some stuff in the Bible with a stick in the mud called Adam and God breathing down her neck all the time.–p. 20 pdf version
And as she lay there in the dark of her bedroom, breath held, she felt almost certain she could hear her father getting out of the bed. Were those his footsteps on the hallway carpet, heavy and slow?
For a long, long moment she couldn’t tell. So long that her breath started wanting out and her body began trembling under the pressure. He was going to come in here, and see her like this—awash in desire for a punk—and by God she didn’t even know what he’d do.–p. 25, pdf version
God, why did he have to be so handsome? Because she recognized now that he was—incredibly, impossibly handsome. He hid it well beneath the tattoos and the hair dye and the mildly illegal behavior, but it shone out of him anyway.–p. 27, pdf version
Normal people—they said I love you to their parents all the time. They laughed and hugged and told each other how much they cared, and no one ever got smacked around or turned to ash inside.–p. 96, pdf version