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4.0 out of 5 stars9
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Every year the whole family goes to Cornwall, to the beach house, for vacation. Mum, Dad, Charley, Hal, Sara -- one big happy family, every year. Until this year. This year Charley won't be there. This year they won't be much of a happy family anymore. And it's all because of Charley. Charley's staying at home, in a hospital bed, in a coma. Caught somewhere between life and death. She's been that way since Hal found her last summer, washed up on the rocks by the water.

Ever since that day, nothing seems right, or even okay anymore. Mum and Dad have been fighting, Mum's unpredictable and distant, Hal is confused and angry, and even Sara asks questions that no one can answer and says things no one can understand.

The one thing Hal knows for sure is that his sister is not in the body that lies in that hospital bed. He can't stand to go there. He can't stand to see his vibrant, lively sister colorless and wasted. He can't stand to hear people talk to her like she's a sick child, like the world is still normal. Vacation seems like an escape to Hal.

At the beach house, Hal finds he's more trapped than ever. Charley is everywhere: in pictures, in memories, in the secret places they used to explore, in the memories of the new friends he's making, even in his head. Hal is starting to think that there's more to the story than any of them realize. The closer he gets to it, the more he can feel and hear his sister. Maybe he can find the answers that they both need. But, time is running short, and things are starting to seem dangerous. Every answer brings more questions, and Hal doesn't know if he's prepared to do what needs to be done. He only knows that he has to find a way, for Charley, for his family, for himself.

While some readers may find it hard to accept the clairvoyant relationship between Hal and Charley, it's not really hard to believe. When you're a kid no one understands you better than your family. Especially a brother or sister that's very close to you in age, and is your best friend. Who else would know you thoughts, and hear you when no one else is listening?

Not just a touching story (yes I cried) but beautiful. Yes, it's heartwarming, and heartbreaking. Sure, it's a coming of age story. It's also mysterious and surprisingly suspenseful. The characters are full, whole people. They surprise you, and make you angry, and make you feel what they feel. And the ending is the kind of ending that's so right that it makes you mad. It may not be what you expected, or what you wanted, but it's right and it's real. Just like this book.

Reviewed by: Carrie Spellman
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This is a fascinating and very original novel written for young adults. The plot and characters are gripping and there is a sense of the supernatural about it - if you enjoyed Alice Sebold's 'The Lovely Bones', then this is one for you.

The story is told by two narrators - Hal, a fifteen year old boy whose older sister Charley was hurt in an accident last summer. Hal is angry at Charley, at his parents and at himself - he is desperate to know what happened before Charley's accident and if anyone else was there at the time. The other narrator is Charley who is laying comatose in a hospital. Charley seems to be floating in an 'in-between' world and somehow manages to communicate with Hal.

The story pieces together so well - the desciptions of young love and angst are beautifully written. For anyone who enjoys mystery, supernatural and imaginative writing.
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on 20 August 2008
'Waves' is Sharon Dogar's first novel and is very successful. It follows the story of teenager Hal, as he tries to find out what happened to his sister, Charley, the previous summer. Charley, who is in a comma after a mysterious sea accident, manages to reach out to Hal to help him in his task.

Part coming of age novel, part supernatural detective story, 'Waves' is very well written, with the voices of the two main characters being very distinct and convincing. Labels at the start of each section stop the point of view switches (all first person, jumping between two characters and two time periods) from becoming confusing. Whilst you form ideas about the ending, the book does actually keep you guessing till the end and keeps a few surprises in store. However, readers who are good at picking up on clues will be able to make a reasonable guess as to what happened. Despite that, the novel is very atmospheric and full of wonderful descriptions that keep the writing alive. The pace is also good.

So, why have I only given it four stars? There's a subplot that seems to get lost part way through the story, which was a bit frustrating. Also, one of the events in the ending seemed a little bit gratuitous.

Even so, it's a book that's well worth reading. In my local bookstore this book is categorised as being teenage fiction, but it is quite meaty and long. There's some swearing (not too much) and quite a few allusions to sex (though never in bad taste or gratuitous).
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on 5 February 2012
Couldn't get into this at all. The writing style is very repetitive and the story just doesn't move along quick enough. The premise of the book sounds intruging - a young girl, Charley, lies in a coma having been involved in an accident at her parents seaside home the summer before. On returning to the house, her brother Hal starts to hear her voice, telling him to remember what happened to her and to help her. Hal tries to ignore the voice at first, but as it becomes stronger and more persistent he begins to dig around, tring to discover exactly what happened to Charley.

Unfortunately, I found this novel and its characters so unengaging that I only managed to get to page 119 before I gave up. As a result I never discovered what happened to Charley, but the sad fact is I don't care. The way in which she is portrayed, made her very unappealing to me and her brother just comes across as a wet fop with unemotional parents and an annoying five year old sister. I have no doubt that having a child and sibling lying in hospital in a coma would have a profound affect on a family, but this family unit seem to have had every emotion removed, leaving only moping, miserable husks of people behind. Perhaps that was Dogar's point - to show it's dramatic impact - but it just left me feeling cold and unattached.
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on 27 December 2008
I thought this book was amazing. I DONT cry at things very easily but the end of this book made me cry, it was really sad. The book was good but sometimes it was a bit like how did that happen? Definatly well worth a read.
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on 21 August 2009
This is a terrific first novel, with a very unusual structure. The story is told both from the point of view of Hal, and that of his older sister Charley, as she lies in a coma. Their points of view gradually converge throughout the story, until Hal seems to be reliving Charley's life, and the mystery of what happened to Charley a year before is unravelled.
It's an emotionally involving story, with well drawn characters, and I don't knowwho enjoyed it more, my 15 year old daughter or me!
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on 14 February 2013
This book was about a girl called Charley who is in a coma and her family's life while she is in hospital and her brother Hal starts to hear her voice in his head. I liked the sound of this story but it didn't live up to it's expectations. I found myself getting quite bored although I had to finish it to find out what happened (and I hate not finishing a book!) The story jumped from Hal now, to Hal then, to Charley now and Charley then and I found myself getting confused about what was going on and whether I was reading what was happening in the past or present. I thought this story had the potential to be great but I just didn't really like it.
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on 8 February 2013
Love this book so gripping, I read it in a day when I was ill cause it was so gripping! SOO GOOD MUST READ!
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on 22 September 2015
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