July 26, 2010

REVIEW! Charlie St. Cloud.

Charlie St. Cloud
Ben Sherwood


In a snug New England fishing village, Charlie St. Cloud tends the lawns and monuments of an ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. After surviving the car accident that claimed his brother’s life, Charlie is graced with an extraordinary gift: He can see, talk to, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. Into this magical world comes Tess Carroll, a captivating woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that propels her into Charlie’s life. Their beautiful and uncommon collection leads to a race against time and a choice between life and death, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go – and the discovery that miracles can happen if we simply open our hearts.

My rating: 3 stars.


A catchy, unique concept: actual interaction with the Other Side. Charlie St. Cloud can experience all five senses when mingling with spirits, rather than only being able to experience one or two; it’s this that sets the book apart from others.

Unfortunately, all of the characters show little-to-no development. While most novels have characters changing and growing throughout their entirety, Charlie St. Cloud does not. After the beginning accident, readers are brought thirteen years into the future – a future that is monotonous and showing Charlie’s unwillingness to let go of the past. But this dreary mood lasts for a good portion of the book. The only relief Sherwood gives his readers are chapters about Tess, from her point of view. Even then, too many details about her boat, Querencia, left me wanting for more details about the characters instead.

Tess is pretty and sporty, Charlie is kind-hearted and a hard worker, and Sam is a goofy and innocent young boy. Nothing more. The not-at-all-complex personalities only make the sudden romance between Charlie and Tess that much more unbelievable and straining.

Yet, despite dry, stereotypical details about the characters, the pace of the book remains steady; every scene has its purpose, and the story doesn’t wander off course. Sherwood manages to insert surprises where I didn’t expect them to be, which is what prodded me to finish.

EXTRA: Readers who enjoy this might also like novels by Nicholas Sparks.


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