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I Belong

Review: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

ShutterTitle: Shutter

Author: Courtney Alameda

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 1250044677 (MacTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-1250044679 (MacTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

Quick & Dirty: Suspenseful story filled with great action, fun characters and just the right amount of horror! I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it!

Opening Sentence: CALL IT REAPER’S INSOMNIA, but the dead wouldn’t let me sleep at night.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Micheline Helsing is one of the direct descendants of Van Helsing, and just like him she hunts monsters. She is known as a tetrachromat, a person that can see the auras of the undead with her special eyes. There are very few people born with this talent and it makes her extra good at hunting ghosts. She has trained her entire life to be a hunter and someday because she is one of the last living descendants of Van Helsing she will lead the hunters.

Micheline is great at what she does and she has an amazing team that helps her. The team is made up of four members, Olive, Jude, and Ryder.  Together they are at the top of their class in school and once they graduate they will be a force to be reckoned with. But when a ghost hunt goes wrong all four of them are left with a ghostly chain that is slowly spreading through their bodies. If they can’t exorcise the entity in the next week all of them will die. Their only hope of finding the ghost is to track it down, but that is proving more difficult than they thought. But there is a reason they are considered some of the best and they won’t go down without a fight!

Micheline is an amazing heroine. She is one of those kick butt girls that knows how to take care of herself and I loved that. She had really great confidence that makes your drawn to her character, but she also had some flaws. She doesn’t always think before she acts and it tends to get her in trouble. For the most part her killer reflexes have saved her butt many times, but it has also made her slightly cocky when it comes to ghost hunting. I also loved that she has such a huge heart and her sad past made me feel very sympatric towards her. As you can tell, she is a very well rounded character that was easy to connect with.

I loved the team of boys that Micheline has working with her. Oliver is the geek of the group. He is super smart and comes in very handy when it comes to anything to do with computers. He is naïve at times, which was a little frustrating, but overall I really liked him. Jude is the mysterious one. He has the special power to predict death and you never get a really good read on him. He is a playboy, but he also is a great, loyal friend. I found his character very intriguing and I really hope there is a sequel so we can get to know more about him.

Ryder is the final member of the team and I absolutely adored him. He was sort of adopted by the Helsing’s when he was younger and has easily become one of the best hunters for his age. There has always been a connection between Micheline and Ryder, but they have never acted on it because she isn’t someone that would be considered an appropriate match for a Helsing heir. Ryder is someone you can lean on and trust to protect you no matter what. I think he was an amazing character and the perfect love interest for Micheline.

Shutter is an intense story filled with interesting characters, an intriguing plot, and a good dose of horror! Personally, I am not a huge fan of scary books but this one worked really well for me. There were some creepy moments, but overall I wouldn’t say that it was really scary. I liked the idea of the teenage ghost hunters, it was fun and different from most other horror books I have read. I did get a little confused by some of the terms and different powers that the hunters had. I think the reason why was because everything had weird names and it was hard to keep track of everything. But eventually everything came together and once I got a handle on everything, I really started to enjoy this book. Because of the confusion, the first half was a little difficult for me to get through, but I was interested enough in the story to keep going and I’m glad I did. It ended up being a great read and I really enjoyed it. As of right now it is a standalone, but the ending was left open enough that I am hoping there is more. If there isn’t that is fine as well because I was satisfied with how it ended. I would just love to be in the world that Alameda created, it was fun and unique. If you are looking for a borderline scary book with cute romance and great action this is a book for you!

Notable Scene:

A maelstrom twisted at the room’s center. I saw wisps of the ghost—an arm, a foot, a knee—through the swirling miasma. An androgynous voice sang in the darkness, Hand for a hand, and tooth for a tooth

The entity reached one bright arm through its shadows and beckoned to me, just as Luca had beckoned.

“Micheline, let go.” Jude’s hand broke away from mine.

Something bony grasped me, fingers settling over my wrist like shackles. Static sparks danced over my arm, kissing and nipping at my skin.


Jude’s voice barely registered. In my mind’s eye, I circled the entity. Getting closer. Wishing I could see through its dark veil and into the monstrous heart that wanted me dead. The ghost kept one hand extended, curling its index finger. “Tell me what you want from me,” I said to the entity, but it only laughed.

The hand tightened around my wrist.

Then yanked.


The vision snapped like a dry bone. I slammed into the desk. The pain hit like a reflex: I screamed as my shoulder popped loose, nerves exploding from my shoulder to my wrist. I couldn’t think or breathe or omigod, the thing’s pulling my arm off.


FTC Advisory:  Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Shutter.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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