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.
Releases 20th Oct by HQ/Mira Ink
I received a copy from HQ at YALC in exchange for an honest review
What I say: I've never really given much thought to those left behind after an act of terrible violence so Dear Charlie is a real eyeopener! The story focuses on Sam. Sam's brother, Charlie killed a lot of people in a high school shooting before killing himself. Charlie ruined the lives of many people in their small town and Sam is left to face the outrage.
As Sam and his parents struggles to accept Charlie's crimes. We see them battle the rage of other students and families of those murdered by his brother. The story is really sad because we know from the start what has happened but we see his disbelief, anger and heartbreak. Why did Charlie do this? How could he not have known? Why do people blame him and how can he move on? Will his parents ever sort themselves out?
The topic is pretty controversial and although I was never entirely comfortable with it, I think this is a good thing because violence should never be comfortable.
Sam is pretty closed off and I did find it difficult to understand him at times, but again I felt as though this was intentional. The tone is awkward, Sam is unsettled and the town will never forget.
The setting isn't America as might be expected with a school shooting but instead is in the UK. I knew straight away where Gomes was writing about which made for an interesting and upsetting change for me as a Brit but I'll remember the story and Sam's voice...
3.5 - 4 Stars in my Sky!