Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

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. 

At Charlie's funeral, Lena stands up and says a few words about him and their three year relationship. Aubrey is at the same funeral to mourn the loss of her boyfriend. They had no idea that the other even existed. When they start comparing notes, it seems like they are dating two different men. How could that happen? Shortly after the funeral, these two women are thrown into a mad race across a handful of countries as they try to figure out who Charlie was and how he could have loved both of these very different women. 

I've read quite a few novels that switch the pov between two characters with each chapter. I don't believe I've read one that did this with three. Three seemed like one too many quite a few times ... especially at first! You've barely met these characters and then two pages later, you have to switch to someone else. It was just confusing until I learned what in the heck was going on. This whole switcheroo didn't matters when there are also flashbacks thrown into the mix. That made the whole thing just ridiculously confusing. Adding to the confusion was some talk of "the program" which made it sound like one of the characters was joining a secret society or the Avengers or some shit. Actually, if they had joined the Avengers, the book would have been more captivating. I finished the book and I still have no idea what in the world "the program" means.

You know, this is a wild ride that Lena and Aubrey go on ... they aren't totally for sure who the other person is and what their motivations are but the progression of these characters within the time frame of the book just didn't jive with ... anything that these women did or said. It was just pretty unbelievable the things that they went through and how each of them had "changed" within like 72 hours. Plus, I found the characters to be annoying, petty, juvenile and most of all, full of hot air. Moving on to the Charlie character ... it was weird how transparent he was and not transparent because I knew what he was thinking ... it was because he was almost just not even there. He is a major part of the book but at the same time, I feel like I know absolutely nothing about him. One stiff breeze could have blown this character straight off the page. I would have liked for him to have a bit more depth or at least seem semi-realistic to me. 

And finally, the ending. Back in the day (1999), there was a movie that came out which starred Claire Danes. I really enjoyed this movie and I've watched it quite a few times. There were glaringly obvious similarities within the movie and this ending. I literally couldn't get that movie out of my head for the last part of this book. 

All in all, not a book for me. I had to force myself to finish this book and I skimmed paragraph after paragraph because I just couldn't get into it. But the cover is gorgeous. Not that I can figure out how it goes with the novel, but it's pretty. 

Available: June 2nd, 2015

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