Title: Charlie, Presumed Dead
Author: Anne Heltzel
Edition: Digital ARC, 272 Pages
Publication Details: June 2nd 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.
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In Paris, family and friends gather to mourn the tragic passing of Charlie Price—young, handsome, charming, a world-traveler—who is presumed dead after an explosion. Authorities find only a bloodied jacket, ID’d as Charlie’s. At the funeral, two teens who are perfect strangers, Lena Whitney and Aubrey Boroughs, make another shocking discovery: they have both been dating Charlie, both think Charlie loved them and them alone, and there is a lot they didn’t know about their boyfriend. Over the next week, a mind-bending trip unfolds: first in London—then in Mumbai, Kerala, and Bangkok, the girls go in search of Charlie. Is he still alive? What did their love for him even mean? The truth is out there, but soon it becomes clear that the girls are harboring secrets of their own.
No one knows whom to trust in this thrilling tale of suspense and deception.
Charlie, Presumed Dead has been described as Gone Girl for the YA generation, and I can certainly see why. It is a story of secrets and lies, of twists and turns!
Charlie’s plane blew up. They never found his body, but there’s no way he could have survived that. At his funeral, two very different girls are mourning the loss of their boyfriend and it’s instantly obvious to both of them, that they didn’t know Charlie as well as they thought.
They may be polar opposites, but Lena and Aubrey now have two things in common. They both loved Charlie, and they’re convinced he’s not dead. Together, they set out on the trip of a lifetime to discover the truth. How could Charlie have deceived them so completely? Was there more to his apparent death than they first believed?
The more Lena and Aubrey share with each other, the more bizarre the truth seems. Not only was Charlie dating them both and living a double life, but they each knew different versions of Charlie. Lena’s Charlie likes one thing, but Aubrey’s Charlie hates it. As they discover more of these inconsistencies, they become more and more convinced that Charlie is not dead at all…and they’re determined to find him and get the answers they deserve.
For most of this book, I was intrigued enough to keep reading, but it wasn’t hugely exciting. I liked the dynamic between to two girls, but I never felt like either of them really loved Charlie, so I wasn’t convinced that they’d go to such measures to find out if he was still alive or not, and because I didn’t know much about Charlie, I didn’t really care that much either.
However, as the story developed and the strange clues as to Charlie’s death – or lack there of- were dangled in front of me, I got more invested. I loved the idea that Charlie was not only living a double life, but that he also had different versions of himself for different people. He was a dark, complex character who was slowly brought to life by these two girl’s memories of him.
There were a few things I found a bit off. The tone for one. It definitely read as an adult book (which isn’t a bad thing), and Lena and Aubrey seemed a lot older than they were supposed to be, despite Aubrey being quite sheltered. I don’t know why, but it just made for a strange tone as I was expecting more of a YA feel.
Charlie, Presumed Dead was a standard 3 unicorns for me the whole way through, it was good, but not great. However, I had to resist the urge to bump it up by the end…because OMG that ending! It was seriously worth it just for that. It was a total game changer, and now I can understand why some of the boring stuff had to happen.
I know that’s quite vague, but this is a spoiler-free zone. Just read it, and persevere until the end!
Charlie, Presumed Dead is due to be released June 2nd