Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez

The Downside of Being Charlie

Author: Jenny Torres Sanchez
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Source: For Review from Publisher
Format: ARC
Publisher: Running Press Kids

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Charlie is handed a crappy senior year. Despite losing thirty pounds over the summer, he still gets called “Chunks” Grisner. What’s worse, he has to share a locker with the biggest Lord of the Rings freak his school has ever seen. He also can’t figure out whether Charlotte VanderKleaton, the beautiful strawberry lip-glossed new girl, likes him the way he likes her. Oh, and then there’s his mom. She’s disappeared—again—and his dad won’t talk about it.

Somewhere between the madness, Charlie can at least find comfort in his one and only talent that just might get him out of this life-sucking place. But will he be able to hold his head above water in the meantime? (taken from
Despite this book's 268 page length, it took me weeks to read. For some reason, the thought of watching TV or sleeping always appealed to me more than pulling The Downside of Being Charlie out. That's never a good sign. So, I finally sat down over the weekend and forced myself to finish it. Even after an hour of being immersed in the story, I still couldn't make myself like the characters or the plot.

Honestly, I think the biggest problem was Charlie. I cannot relate to him at all. It's not just that he's a boy or that his life is completely messed up. His personality simply didn't appeal to me. Whenever Charlie was stuck in sticky situations, he continued to make poor decisions and blame it on his dysfunctional home life. Meanwhile, I'm just sitting there shaking my head and wishing I could read something else. 

I can obviously see what the author was going for. The story has great potential to be a heartwrenching tale of healing and self-worth. However, my dislike for Charlie and the lack of character development prevented me from enjoying the book's message. 

After I finished The Downside of Being Charlie, I read some of my fellow reviewers's thoughts. It seems that many of them disagree with what I thought. Feel free to give the book a shot if you want. However, I wasn't impressed. The characters, writing, and plot all bored me, and I had to push myself to even finish the book. 
Rating: 2.5 Stars