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Charlie and the Grandmothers by Katy Towell

Charlie and the Grandmothers

by Katy Towell

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Charlie is afraid of everything. Ever since the terrifying day when his father was killed in a mill accident, Charlie can't help fearing the worst. Even when there seems to be nothing to fear, Charlie can't help concocting worst-case scenarios in his ever-wakeful, overactive imagination. Most of the danger lives inside Charlie's head, but even his sister Georgie and their mother recognize the oddity of the numerous children leaving their neighborhood to visit their grandmothers and seemingly never returning.

One night, darkness sweeps over their house and Charlie, still awake in the night, can hear a strange voice whispering to his mother. Days later, the impossible is happening. Charlie and Georgie's mother has taken ill and the two children are being sent away to their grandmother's house while she recovers, which wouldn't be so strange...if they actually had any living grandparents. Instead of a charming getaway to the safety of their grandmother's house, Charlie and Georgie are plunged into the stuff of nightmares. These grandmothers are distinctly evil, and only terrified Charlie is equipped to save them.

Katy Towell has crafted a deliciously and imaginatively creepy horror story for kids that worked for this adult reader, too. Sure, the premise is unlikely. Charlie's unnatural terror and weird attachment to his alarm clock is a little exaggerated, but here, it works.

While Charlie and the Grandmothers is undeniably unique, I couldn't help being reminded of books like Neil Gaiman's Coraline with a little James and the Giant Peach thrown in. I love stories like this, fast-paced and full of adventure, where a kid left to their own devices in a world that should be heart-stoppingly petrifying finds his courage and steps up to become the hero of his own story. ( )
  yourotherleft | Jan 3, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375868607, Hardcover)

A visit to Grandmother’s house has never been so frightening. . . .

Charlie and Georgie Oughtt have been sent to visit their Grandmother Pearl, and this troubles Charlie for three reasons. The first is that he’s an exceptionally nervous twelve-year-old boy, and he worries about everything. The second is that the other children in his neighborhood who pay visits to their grandmothers never seem to return. And the third is that Charlie and Georgie don’t have any grandmothers.
Upon their arrival, all of Charlie’s concerns are confirmed, as “Grandmother Pearl” quickly reveals herself to be something much more gruesome than even Charlie’s most outlandish fears could have predicted. He and Georgie are thrust into a creepy underworld created from stolen nightmares, where monsters disguised as grandmothers serve an ancient, evil queen by holding children captive as they slowly sap each one of their memories and dreams.
But something is different about Charlie. His worrisome nature, so often a burden, proves an asset in this frightening world. Will he be able to harness this newfound power to defeat the queen and save his sister?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 13 Aug 2015 15:07:35 -0400)

When fearful twelve-year-old Charlie and his bolder younger sister are sent to visit a grandmother they never knew they had, they discover a dark secret.

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