Dear Charlie

(Not in Napier/Taradale Libraries)31296412

Author – N D Gomes

Age – 13+

Sam Macmillan looked up to his older brother Charlie. Sam loves music and Charlie loved art and they had a close bond. But Sam can’t figure out how his caring big brother could buy a black-market gun at 1am one morning, take it to school and shoot 14 people before turning the gun on himself.

Dear Charlie is a story about a family of the shooter dealing with the fallout after the event. Constant media attention, abuse, hate mail, and bullying follow the family for months until they are not only at breaking point as a family, but each of them all but consumed in their own pain, guilt and confusion.

But surprisingly, a group of teens at Sam’s new school accept him as one of their own, giving him a lifeline out of the darkness of what his brother did. Sam discovers more than friendship among this group, even as he battles his therapist who is trying to help, copes with his dysfunctional parents and his own anger at his brother’s actions.

This story portraying the aftermath on a shooter’s family was well written, travelling through all the emotions they would encounter. Each chapter of ‘Dear Charlie’ begins with a song that portrays the feeling of the chapter. From classical to popular music, the songs add something real to the story. These can be listened to before or after each chapter read. Compelling.

(School shooting, Guilt, Grief, Love, Family, School, Music)

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