Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Courtesy of Teens Read Too
on 2 April 2007
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