Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.
At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed. Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.
My opinions of the novel:
In my opinion Dear Charlie is one of the best YA novels ever written. The truth behind this book is so powerful, and that’s why its a topic which needs to be discussed. N.D Gomes addressed this matter beautifully and also shows the consequences and the aftermath of what happens when a school shooting happens.
Another great feature of this book is that it’s set in the UK, where school shootings haven’t occurred in a while, unlike tragically in the US, who sadly have school shootings every couple of months.
The way N.D Gomes sets this book up, is in a way that we see the whole towns struggle after the shooting, which as you can imagine, is quite upsetting.
We get to see mainly Sam’s (Charlie’s brother) struggles after the shooting. As people around him are trying to place their anger on him, aswell as him moving school, with judgemental students and teachers all around him. We get to see Sam trying to figure out why Charlie would start a school shooting, which in my opinion was an amazing part of the book, as we got to see him dig deep into his and his brothers past, which was really great to see. People start to think that maybe Charlie wasn’t always the quiet, loveable boy, everyone thought he was. Maybe he was the complete opposite?
When I was reading this book, all I could feel was that element of sadness behind it, which was great, as it really does show, what a school shooting or any shooting tragedy can do. When we got to see Charlie’s family, almost tearing apart, I felt so sorry for them, they had no idea what Charlie was going to do, and they did not deserve all of the backlash for what Charlie did.
Maybe Charlie really down inside, didn’t want to kill anyone? Maybe he was pressured into it? These questions and many more are what made this book great. Gomes kept so much secret throughout this book, which could possibly be used to write a sequel or some sort of short story, maybe even going back in time and following Charlie’s point of view, leading up to the shooting.
Overall this book was amazing and I really recommend that people read this book, based on a subject which is true in today’s society. Gomes really put all her thoughts and and efforts into writing about such a sensitive subject and portrayed it beautifully. Therefore, I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.
About the author: N.D Gomes ~
N.D. Gomes was born in Scotland and graduated from the University of Stirling with a BA in Media & Journalism Studies, and went on to receive her Master’s degree in Education in the US. She currently works in a public school system to increase educational opportunities for students with special needs. Previously, N.D. Gomes wrote for the London-based online student political magazine, deAlign and stage-managed student plays at the LeeStrasberg Theatre Institute in New York City where she attended for two years. She currently divides her time between the US and Scotland, but hopes to spend more time at her cottage in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. Dear Charlie is her debut novel.
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A copy of Dear Charlie was provided in exchange for an honest review.