Friday, October 21, 2016

Dear Charlie Blog Tour Review

Dear Charlie
Author: N. D. Gomes
Series: Standalone
Released: October 20th 2016
Publisher: Mira INK
Length: 222 pages
Source: Publisher for review

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. 

School shootings have been the plague of our world for far too long, but unlike diseases and natural disasters, they always leave us with someone to blame. We’ve all grieved with the families of those who were lost, but few of us stop to think about the parents and siblings of shooters. Dear Charlie offers a new perspective, a painful look into the devastation and shame of one such family, faced with the condemnation and the hate while also struggling with grief.

Sam’s brother Charlie killed himself suddenly and he took fourteen other people along with him. In the aftermath, Sam is struggling to make sense of things, to reconcile the brother he knew with the person who took a gun to school and used it. No matter how hard he tries, Sam can’t remember any warning signs, anything that could have helped him foresee this tragedy in time.

Sam is just trying to find his place in his horrible new life. He can’t go back to the same school he was attending with his brother and he can’t reconnect with his old friends. He feels alone and isolated, abandoned by his community and his grieving parents. There are obviously no magical cures for such senseless tragedy, and Gomes captures this perfectly, but people can heal even in the most horrible circumstances and find peace and strength they didn’t know they possessed.

N. D. Gomes writes beautifully, and skillfully avoids being melodramatic. Dear Charlie isn’t at all about Charlie, and that becomes more and more clear as the story progresses. It is about Sam finding his footing and allowing his life to take a new shape, a more mature, wounded but recovering outline. Gomes delves deep into Sam’s emotions and displays all the anger, guilt, sadness and loneliness for us to see. It is heartbreaking, but also empowering, and it forces us to look at things in a whole new way.

Overall, this is a painful book, but worth reading and absorbing. It helps build compassion for those who are sometimes beyond our notice, especially compared to larger, more obvious tragedies. Even with his quiet, withdrawn demeanor, Sam speaks loudly of the things we might not want to hear, and his voice stays with us and leaves a permanent impact.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Wow, this sounds like a book very much worth reading indeed! Thank you for putting it on my radar Maja!

  2. I haven't heard about this one but I'll be checking it out, Maja. You're right about the fact that we generally don't think about the family members of shooters. This sounds really well written.

  3. It looks like a difficult one and really poignant one. it's true that it's quite different but it looks really interesting too. I'm intrigued

  4. This one sounds very interesting. I like that it took the point of view it did.

  5. Oh yes, I would read this. I read the book by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters last year, and it was heartbreaking. The public is quick to always blame the parents and the family, and they forget they are just as much vicitims sometimes. So sad.

  6. I've always been curious as to the aftermath of the shooter's family. Perhaps an acknowledgement of the pain they would leave would have a bigger impact than they would know. Not all come from a horrific situation and sometimes they are loving families trying to figure out what went wrong and how they could prevent it. Brilly review!

  7. School shootings are horrific, but I've always loved reading about them because they tend to give you interesting perspectives about why these keep happening. I always liked the ones that focused on the shooter or the family - something other than the victim, even though they are VERY important to the story.

  8. Gosh, this seems like such a powerful read--one of those books that just demands to be read! I don't know when I'll be in the frame of mind to pick this up, but onto my TBR it goes! Beautiful review, Maja, and thanks for putting this on my radar.

  9. This sounds like a powerful read Maja, thanks so much for putting it on my radar. My heart hurts for Sam already.

  10. I haven’t heard about this book before, thanks for bringing it to my attention. Wonderful review, Maja! PS. I have another book that focuses on the aftermath of such tragedy for the family of a shooter - Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash. Have you read it?

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