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Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel
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Charlie, Presumed Dead

by Anne Heltzel

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Charlie is gone. His father's plane was found crashed, his jacket was found bloodied and torn, and there is no sign of his body. Lena is heartbroken over losing the love of her life. And at Charlie's funeral, she adds more heartbreak: she discovers Charlie's other girlfriend Aubrey. As the two girls talk, they realize Charlie was a different guy for each of them; for Lena, loud and boisterous, for Aubrey, quiet and bookish. And the more the girls talk, they begin to suspect there was more the Charlie than he let on to either of them. Lena even suspects Charlie isn't really dead. And she is determined to find out the truth of what happened to Charlie. She convinces Aubrey to go on a search for Charlie so they can both have closure on their relationships with Charlie. AS they travel, they discover more and more of Charlie's secrets, and realize he was not at all the man he made himself out to be for either girl. And he has engineered suffering for both of them that they will have to use all their strength to escape. This was an interesting story. It was told in alternating perspectives of Lena, Aubrey, and Charlie, so with each chapter, I got a little more of the story. The whole time, I was wondering who was telling the truth, if anyone, and if anyone was crazy or had a mental disorder. Even by the end of the book, I was still wondering what the "truth" of the story was. None of the characters were really likeable, but maybe that was intended to make us wonder who was reliable and who wasn't. Pretty good story. ( )
  litgirl29 | Feb 19, 2017 |
Where to begin with this book. Those of you who have been watching my status updates have probably concluded that I didn't like this book.

I didn't like this book.

Prepare yourself, it's going to get ugly here. If you have any interest in this book at all, stop reading. First, I will mock it. Then I will spoil it. Then I will trample on whatever might be left of it.

Let me begin by saying that this is the last book by this author I will read. I had previously read another book, under a different pen name ([b:The Ruining|15715847|The Ruining|Anna Collomore|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1349214469s/15715847.jpg|21385514] by Anna Collomore) and though it had problems (huge problems) there was enough going on that I was interested in reading her again.

Yeah, that emotion is gone. We are never, ever, ever getting back together.

Also, there are plenty of people who liked this book, so if it interests you, don't take my word for it. Go read one of the 4 & 5 star reviews on amazon.

Now, the rest of this review is one big spoiler alert.


The book is told in three different voices: Lena (GF#1) and Aubrey (GF#2) which are first person present, and Charlie, which is first person, where he sometimes talks about himself in the second person. Which sounds stupid as fuck and is every bit as irritating as you are thinking it might be.

Basic story: Rich kid Charlie has apparently died in a plane crash. Lena and Aubrey both go to his funeral and find out that they both believe that they were his girlfriend. Heavy handed suspense building occurs - is Charlie even dead? They must find out the truth!

They embark on a poorly-conceived road trip across the globe to find the truth. Also, as a total aside, but with more heavy-handed attempts at suspense building, Charlie has stolen Aubrey's diary. Aubrey's diary, which contains a TERRIBLE SEKRET! And Aubrey is worried that someone will find out her TERRIBLE SEKRET!

Oh, God, someone shoot me now.

First they go to Mumbai, which Lena insists on calling Bombay 'cause, you know, that's what rich kids do. Everyone who is anyone still calls it Bombay. Fuck the actual people of India. And, in a strange coincidence - this book is filled with strange coincidences, which is apparently what passes for plotting - the boy that Aubrey cheated on Charlie with lives in Mumbai, I mean, Bombay. Also, there's a drug dealer, and an incident where they are sort of kidnapped and rolled, although they do, at least, wake up with all their organs.

By this time, this is my expression as I'm reading:



And then we find out two things: first of all, Aubrey's TERRIBLE SEKRET is, in fact, pretty terrible. Turns out that adorable Aubrey ran over a homeless guy in her car and left him to die. And Charlie knows this and has been blackmailing her. Also, Aubrey cheated on Charlie with Mumbai guy, Adam, who she met once, and she confessed to Charlie, so he knows. And he left a suicide note - dated the day he found out!

By now, I'm like:



And, Charlie is pissed.

Oh, Charlie's not actually dead. You got that, right?

No, in a manoevre that would have made James Bond and Jason Bourne proud, teenaged rich kid manages to - without anyone knowing - get his pilot's license and learn to skydive and then crash his rich father's plane after parachuting out of it, after planting bloody evidence to suggest that he died in the crash.

Like, this guy:



No, wait, this guy:



Well, okay, more like this guy:



Uh huh. That's possible. If by "possible", you mean "could never fucking happen in one million years.

And Charlie is pissed at Aubrey for cheating on him. Because, yeah, a guy who is literally banging two chicks at once has every right to be mad at one of them for cheating on him. Also, Charlie has apparently lost his mind, and can't even tell his two girlfriends apart. He has to keep lists about them or he will forget which one he is in bed with. Aubrey likes purple, pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain.

Wait, no, that's some stupid song from the 80's. But you see my point.



OMG, this book is so bad. So, so, so bad.

The characterizations are wafer-fucking-thin. Aubrey is the Indiana girl, from a normal family, who eats tuna casserole. Hello, 1955 called. It wants it's cliched middle America family dinner back. And Lena is the globe-trotting trust fund brat who likes vinyl records. Isn't she just so hip?

And Charlie. Charlie is the eeevil criminal mastermind extraordinaire because he set this whole thing up:

"They’ll find Anand, and Dane—or is it Dana now?—because you want them to. And when they do, they’ll know the truth, and they’ll suffer. The truth—your plan for them—will destroy them."


Cue Snidely Whiplash in the corner, gleefully rubbing his hands together and cackling.

Honestly, I've met cartoon characters with more depth. Fucking Foghorn Leghorn is more believable than these people.



Marissa Meyer's series involving mythical fairy tale princesses in outer space has characters with more depth and resemblance to reality than anything in this piece of so-called contemporary realistic fiction.

And, adding insult to injury, it is a cliff-hanger ending. There will be a sequel. Because there was just sooooo much in this book that it requires two - or maybe even three - books to tell the whole story.



Fuck that. ( )
  moonlight_reads | Dec 11, 2016 |
*Received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review*

This one was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. We are sucked in at page one and quickly become tangled in the intricate weaved lies of Charlie. No one truly knows what's going on, but everyone knows it's not good. It's like a sick, twisted game of cat and mouse. Aubrey and Lena think the ball is in their court, but what they don't know is... Charlie is controlling every move they make. I expected a huge ending, but I never expected to have my mind blown. It was intense, gut wrenching, and left me begging for the next book.

I LOVED this book. I felt as though the story latched onto me and didn't let go until the very last word. Each scene painted a vivid picture in my mind and each emotion was felt deep within my soul. My heart ached for the characters and fear raced through my veins. I couldn't turn the pages quick enough. I was like an addict craving their drug of choice. The more I got, the more I wanted. Towards the ending though... when I knew it was going to get intense, I slowed my pace. I took my time to devour each word and prolonged the dreadful ending I knew to expect. Reading the last few chapters I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and my hands shaking a bit. I couldn't believe how it all played out. I even went back and reread the same pages to make sure I didn't miss something. It was truly a one of kind book with a one of a kind plot.

Yes there is a cliffhanger, but I promise that it is so worth it.
I highly recommend Charlie, Presumed Dead to all readers with a love for mystery and suspense!
It is one of my favorites of 2015 & deserves 6 Stars. ( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
*NETGALLEY REVIEW* (Full review to follow on release day!)

I LOVED this book. I felt as though the story latched onto me and didn't let go until the very last word. Each scene painted a vivid picture in my mind and each emotion was felt deep within my soul. My heart ached for the characters and fear raced through my veins. I couldn't turn the pages quick enough. I was like an addict craving their drug of choice. The more I got, the more I wanted. Towards the end though... when I knew it was going to get intense, I slowed my pace. I took my time to devour each word and prolonged the dreadful ending I knew to expect. Reading the last few chapters I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and my hands shaking a bit. I couldn't believe how it all played out. I even when back and reread the same pages to make sure I didn't miss something. It was truly a one of kind book with a one of a kind plot.

Yes there is a cliffhanger, but I promise that it is so worth it.
I highly recommend Charlie, Presumed Dead to all readers with a love for mystery and suspense!
It is one of my favorites of 2015 & deserves 6 Stars. ( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
This is a riveting book with an ending you will not forget! ( )
  DrApple | Oct 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I'm generally not a fan of books that have despicable lead characters, and unfortunately for me this book had character traits that I found distasteful. The story begins with a funeral and we quickly discover that there is more than one girlfriend at this funeral mourning the sudden death (we believe) of Charlie. Charlie was at the time of his death seeing two very different girls. In no time at all these two girls meet, discover the lie, and decide to team up to find out what happened to Charlie. Ah, what? Wait a minute! You say, and so do I. This is how quickly this book started to lose me, but I continue on.

Without giving anything away, we discover that the girls do not really believe Charlie is dead, we also get the feeling that the girls have some big secrets, and we discover that Charlie has been a chronic liar all of his life by assuming the personality of those around him at any given time.

So the book continues to reveal little pieces of this puzzle while two girls who really have no reason being together travel the world blowing crap loads a money without any supervision. "Oh, Hi Mom, I'm in India, sorry I decided not to come home this week." Ah, no, this does not happen and there in lies my biggest issue with this book. All fantasy must be somehow seeped in reality for it to be believable. I could not manage to fib myself as much as I would need to in order to believe any of this story. Sorry, it may be okay for some, but this just wasn't for me.

Review by: Stacy Palm
Full Reviews Available at: http://www.thebookendfamily.weebly.co...
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0544388496, Hardcover)

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.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:52 -0400)

Told in separate voices, Lena and Aubrey, each hiding her own secrets, set off in search of the truth about Charlie, including if he is really dead, after meeting at his funeral and learning that he was dating both of them.

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