Monday, May 25, 2015

Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

Title: Charlie, Presumed Dead
Author: Anne Heltzel
Length: 272 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Classification: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Source: e-galley via NetGalley (Thank you HMH!)
Read: May 2015
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.

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***I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

 My first thought after reading this was "What did I just read?" I definitely have mixed feelings about Charlie, Presumed Dead. The concept is really interesting and I did like the mystery of it all. But overall, I just did not love or really like Charlie, Presumed Dead. There were parts that I enjoyed, but there were more parts that frustrated me.

Charlie Price is presumed dead after the plane he was flying exploded and all that was found was his bloody jacket. At the funeral, Lena and Aubrey discover that Charlie has been lying to both of them. Neither girl knew Charlie was dating both of them at the same time. Lena and Aubrey decide to search for answers together, they want to find out the truth about Charlie,  

For the most part, the book is told from dual points of view: Aubrey and Lena. But there were a few chapters from Charlie's point of view. I did get the points of view confused a few times, both girls sounded similar. Occasionally I would flip back to the beginning of the chapter to remember whose point of view I was reading. 

I didn't really like Aubrey or Lena for most of the story. I get that they have a reason to not really like or trust each other, since they were both dating Charlie. But I do like that they try to not blame each other for that fact, they both blame Charlie. Their decision to join together (after just meeting) and hunt down answers about Charlie was a little rushed, but still an interesting concept. They both have different reasons for wanting to find out what happened. They both want answers and the truth. So, I wasn't really bothered by the fact that they instantly bond together to go hunt him down. 

The part that did frustrate me the most was each girl would think about how they shouldn't be trusting the other one. (Which I get, they did just meet and all, it takes time to build trust.) But then after discovering a secret about the other person, they would feel such a big betrayal about it. Both Lena and Aubrey had their own secrets, and it took a while for us (the readers) to find out what those secrets are. 

I did start to like the girls a bit more after they had been traveling for a while and started to bond. 

There was a lot going on in Charlie, Presumed Dead. Lena and Aubrey traveled a lot and talked to a lot of people trying to figure things out. But there were times where the story felt like it was moving slowly. There were a few things that grabbed my attention and made me want to continue on, so I could also find out what was going on.

I became really interested in the mystery somewhere around 70/75% into the story. Things really picked up and started happening quickly. It grabbed my attention and I was starting to feel anxious. There were some twists and surprises that made me excited to figure things out.

Then the book ended.

I'm not sure if it is a cliffhanger and there will be another book. (I really thought this was a standalone.) Or maybe it is just a huge open-ended ending.

But I wanted more closure. The twists had gotten pretty interesting and it really pulled me into the story there near the end. So I was really hoping to get answers and figure out all the craziness that was happening. I also wanted to know more about Charlie. I really feel like I didn't figure much of anything out. 

My Recommendation:

I keep going back and forth about how much I liked reading Charlie, Presumed Dead. There were parts that entertained me and kept me wanting to know more. I found the premise and the mystery interesting. But I didn't care for the characters as much as I wish I would have. And the ending frustrated me. I think if there is a sequel, I might read it because I did become invested in figuring out the mystery and this ending didn't really provide many answers.

My Rating:

*Really somehwere between 2.5 & 3. So I decided to round up.*

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