Publisher: Gingersnaps Books
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction
Charlie is happiest when biking with Max and Toby, or watching films with Allie. But when Charlie reaches year nine, everything begins to change.
As her friends develop new interests, Charlie’s dreams become more frequent and vivid, and a family crisis tears her away from her friends.
How will Charlie react when old family secrets are revealed? Will her life change completely when some of her dreams start to come true?
What a cute book! I felt very excited for Charlie (our protagonist) in the end. Even though I’m a grown adult but this book took me back to my own days as a thirteen year old.
They story begins with Charlie just starting her 9th year of school. Charlie has always been a bit of a tomboy. This may have to do with the two best friends that she’s grown up with named Toby and Max. The three of them are very close. Charlie also makes a new friend, Allie, her first gal pal. All four begin to go through changes, maturing and showing interest in each other as more than just friends. She can’t understand this as her feelings towards boys haven’t yet begun to change.
Just as she is starting to really enjoy her time at school and being with friends her family gets some bad new. Aunty Jenny has become very ill. Eventually Charlie and her parents leave their home for a little while to take care of poor aunt Jenny. Of course Charlie doesn’t mind though. She loves her aunt very much and especially her huge mansion. Half of which is used as a B&B! Not to mention the beach which is in walking distance. While staying at her aunts house Charlie finds adventure, secrets and even secret passages.
Everything about this book was just charming. The innocence of the plot line, the characters, the dialogue and especially the relationships. Charlie’s relationship with her family was refreshing to read. After reading so many YA books with ornery teenagers who despise their parent’s, or have dead beat parents, it was a very nice change of pace. Visa versa her parents care a great deal for her, though I feel they were a little too irresponsible at times. (Planning to leave her for weeks. Taking her away form school for too many days.) Charlie also has a great relationship with her aunt, whom we see sick for the majority of the book.
Charlie’s character was down right adorable. Innocent to the core and loyal to a fault when it came to her friends. Even when some challenge could very possibly have come between her and them she took the high road. Not wanting to ruin anything. She struggles to understand the changes that all her friends seem to be going through. Allie is noticing how good looking boys are and she’s going on dates! Charlie doesn’t get it, but she listens to Allie rant on and on about it anyway. Max and Toby also begin acting weird, particularly around girls. Staring at them and making silly jokes. Slowly but surely Charlie’s feelings finally begin to grow into something more for one of the boys. (Though I won’t say who of course.)
Also despite her age she had very little to no fear at all. She would explore the enormous house all by herself, in the middle of the night! (early morning, like maybe 3 or 5 am.) She would also venture down to the beach alone and get free pony rides.
There were a few minor things that were a bit off putting for me.
1. The story took a little too long to take off. The book is only 155 pages longs and it took a little more than 100 pages to really peak my interest (I could just be spoiled from YA though). I feel as though someone younger may begin to lose interest and then miss out on a good book.
2. Aunt Jenny’s illness was a little strange and a bit unbelievable. It begins with a sprained wrist, not too big of a deal, and then grows into a serious infection that is practically fatal. A little too dramatic. Kids might get the wrong idea about hospitals and God forbid they break a bone!
3. The dreams, the dreams weren’t what I was expecting form reading the blurb. It was more like they foreshadowed what was going to happen. There were only about two dreams that really came true the way she saw them in her sleep. I was a bit disappointed.
Despite all that it was still a really good book. It’s perhaps thee perfect coming of age story for the targeted audience. It’s an easy read with mystery, adventure, friendship and maturity. It’s simple enough to read within an hour or so. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book for your younger ones. It may even help ease them through some of their own changes.
A solid 3 out of 5 for me 🙂
Thank you so much to Netgalley and Gingersnap Publishing who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!