Book Title:
Charlie, Presumed Dead
Book Author:
Anne Heltzel
Publishing Date:
June 2, 2015
HMH Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
June 8, 2015


In this thrilling tale of suspense and deception, two girls are shocked to discover they've both been dating the same boy when they show up at his funeral. What else don't they know about Charlie Price? As they travel from Paris, to London, to Mumbai to Bangkok, the girls try to figure out Charlie's secrets but soon discover they are harboring secrets of their own. This page-turning psychological mystery will engulf teen fans of Gillian Flynn and Gossip Girl. 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.

My Review

Thrilling?  No.  Suspense?  Ehh… I don’t even know what to call this, aside from kind of boring and lackluster.

Honestly…it felt like it took me forever to finish this book.  That’s such a shame because I was so looking forward to reading this.  When I found out I was approved for an ARC of this book, I practically jumped up and down.  I didn’t read any of the other reviews on this book because I didn’t want to see any other opinions and get biased if I found out that no one liked it.

So…I sit down one night, all kinds of excited to read this book, and then I read the first two chapters and I sit there, thinking…”Okay, this is…quite disappointing.  But it’s still early.  Some of my favorite books have started off somewhat slow…maybe this one is like that!”  So, I keep reading, because I know I’m going to enjoy this book.  A few more chapters in, I’m starting to get the itch to take a break from it and come back to it later.  Maybe I’m just not in the mood for this genre?  But alas, I keep reading, knowing deep down that this will get better!

…Yet, that never happened.  I actually found myself counting the pages in each chapter and practically cheering each time I finished one, because I knew I was that much closer to being done.  But don’t get me wrong…the book wasn’t completely terrible…I honestly was curious about what was going on with Charlie, and what was going to happen at the end of the book.  If it would have been that terrible, I would have chucked it aside and started something different.  But because I found the a tiny bit of the book that made me want to know what would happen at the end, I give it two stars.

The main issue I had with this book was that it was so damn boring.  I’ve read psychology textbooks that moved at a faster pace and have been more interesting that most of this book.  I feel like the entire book could have been wrapped up in maybe a hundred pages, rather than the…what…almost three hundred…that it was.  Saying it could be wrapped up in one hundred pages still gives it plenty of room for all of the boring things that are stuffed in here.  Sure, it was kind of an interesting little tour of the word, with Aubery and Lena hopping plane after plane and trying to solve the mystery of Charlie in like four different countries, but honestly…that’s all that happens.  The characters, Aubery and Lena, are so boring, one dimensional, and annoying that I hated them both.  The chapters are told in alternating perspectives, and I can’t count how many times I had to go back to the beginning of the chapter to see which girl’s point of view the chapter was based on, because they sounded exactly the same.  I read a lot of books with alternating perspectives, and it’s not an issue when you can actually tell which person is doing the narrating of the chapter.  It’s actually quite enjoyable.  This?  I don’t even know what this is, aside from annoying and confusing.

And the ending?  What is that?  Is there going to be another book?  Or is that how it really ended?  Because if that’s how the book ended, that’s shitty.  I sat there for like ten minutes just staring at the last page before it sunk in that yes, that was really the end.

I spent so much time trying to love this book.  I spent so much time sticking with this book, wishing it would get better so I could enjoy it, but it just wasn’t what I was hoping for.

Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

2 stars
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