HMH Books for Young Readers
June 2, 2015
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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.
Charlie, Presumed Dead was a little bit of a weird read for me. I liked the premise, I liked the introduction to the story and the characters and I liked that there was mystery.
There were times, through probably the first half of the book, that it would feel like nothing was happening. Sure, we meet Lena and Aubrey, they meet each other, they find out they were both dating (the presumed dead) Charlie and they go off in search of Charlie. There were still times I asked myself, "Is anything really happening?"
While I liked getting to know Aubrey and Lena - though they were had to really 'get' either because they didn't know themselves or because of the secrets they were keeping - it seemed like there wasn't much action.
Weirdly enough, I started to really like it as I got more into the story.
The story seems pretty unassuming: two girls on a trip to find out about/find their mutual boyfriend. When you get into it, however, it's a more complex, darker story than it first seems.
I liked the balance between Lena and Aubrey. They weren't easy characters to figure out, but the more time they spent together, they more they went through together and the more of their secrets they revealed, the more I liked them and their budding friendship.
Some of their choices along the way, some of the decisions they make, were things I had to accept for the sake of the story, but they still frustrated me. Their actions, while befitting their characters and their goal, were rather questionable at times. Yet, it fit with what they were trying to achieve. (And who they were.)
I wasn't surprised to read that the author has lived in Paris and India, Aubrey and Lena's travels feel very authentic and don't involve only places you would expect.
I started out not sure of what was happening with Charlie, Presumed Dead but I absolutely loved how it all played into the book's ending. It is a fantastic ending (one I like, dislike and am frustrated by all at the same time).
digital arc received, through NetGalley, from publisher for review