Title: Earth to Charlie
Author: Justin Olson
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars.
Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit that he doesn’t have many reasons to stick around; he doesn’t get along well with his father, he’s constantly bullied at school and at work, and the only friend he has is his 600-pound neighbor Geoffrey, and Geoffrey’s three-legged dog, Tickles.
Then Charlie meets popular, easy-going Seth, who shows him what real friendship is all about. For once, he finds himself looking around at the life he’s built, rather than looking up. But sooner than he expected, Charlie has to make a decision: should he stay or should he go?
I had high hopes for this book, and I am telling you now—it did not disappoint. From UFO’s, to friendship, to family, to awkward teens, to a cute dog, and to some self-realizations, I adored everything about this book.
This is a DRC I received from Edelweiss.
The writing style is wonderful! It’s light and easy, but it was also beautiful and melancholic, and at times, even poetic. For me, it has the same style as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (which is one of my favorite books out there!). When I read it, I didn’t want to put it down (but I had to because of work *cries*), I just wanted to read and read.
I also loved how the narration of the story slipped between the present happenings to these sort of flashbacks in Charlie’s life. It’s like he’s zoning out, and I, the reader, zone out with him and I get to relive his memory. Kudos to the author, because that for me, was brilliant. (*slow caps*) In a way, this also connects to the title of the book. Because apart from the fact that Charlie wants to be taken away by aliens, he also keeps zoning out into his own little bubble of thoughts and emotions.
I loved the characters! The protagonist Charlie is really damn relatable, and I guess this is the reason why I had so much fun reading this story. His thoughts and emotions were just so pure and genuine, and awkward. I could really see that he was just this high school outcast, struggling with emotions and is trying to cope with his mother’s disappearance.
Seth was likeable, too, although I really wanted more of his personality, more of his story. (And I did get some of his story, but it was only revealed near the end of the book.) He was a genuine character who contributed greatly to Charlie’s life and view on certain things. I also loved the interactions between him and Charlie, because it shows just how much of a teenager they are. They’re awkward and shy, and their friendship is so pure. I loved that.
Geoffrey, though he was only a minor character, has a special place in my heart. He was Charlie’s 600-pound neighbor, and I loved getting to know his character and his whole story. And in the end, I was really happy that he had a wholesome character development.
Charlie’s dad, on the other hand, makes me have conflicted feelings. I wasn’t fond of him at first but as the story progresses, I see his character developing and changing. There’s something about him that still irks me, though. (But I won’t be telling you anything as I do not want to spoil you, book nerds! You just have to see for yourself. *winks*)
The plot was uncomplicated, and yet the story is so poignant and real. Maybe because it was about a teenager who yearns to disappear, maybe because it’s about trying to cope with something so terrible and sad. Or maybe because it was also about finding yourself, and recognizing your dreams and your wants, and embracing the life you have. Whatever it is, it definitely worked for me (I think I cried three times reading this book *sniffs*).
There were two things in the plot though, small details, that raised some questions for me. And I hoped that it would be answered before the story ends, but it wasn’t. (Yeah, I’m a little bummed about this). But despite that, I still loved this book, I loved how the story went, and who knows maybe I will get answers on the official release.
And wow, guys, I wish I could share quotes here, but seeing as this is just a DRC, I am not allowed to do that. *cries*
I’m giving this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Congratulations in advance to Justin Olson for this debut novel, and I can’t wait to finally have a physical copy on my hands!
Guys, Earth to Charlie comes out next year, April 16, 2019. So if this book is right up your alley, go add it to your Goodreads, pre-order it, anything! I hope you’ll love it just as much as I did.