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Moonlight Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Currently reading

Serpents in Eden (British Library Crime Classics)
Martin Edwards
Progress: 20/276 pages
With Child
Laurie R. King
Progress: 1 %
A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918
G.J. Meyer
Progress: 52 %

Well, then, that sucked

Charlie, Presumed Dead - Anne Heltzel

Where to begin with this book. Those of you who have been watching my status updates have probably concluded that I didn't like this book.


I didn't like this book.


Prepare yourself, it's going to get ugly here. If you have any interest in this book at all, stop reading. First, I will mock it. Then I will spoil it. Then I will trample on whatever might be left of it.


Let me begin by saying that this is the last book by this author I will read. I had previously read another book, under a different pen name (The Ruining by Anna Collemore) and though it had problems (huge problems) there was enough going on that I was interested in reading her again.


Yeah, that emotion is gone. We are never, ever, ever getting back together. 


Also, there are plenty of people who liked this book, so if it interests you, don't take my word for it. Go read one of the 4 & 5 star reviews on amazon.



The book is told in three different voices: Lena (GF#1) and Aubrey (GF#2) which are first person present, and Charlie, which is first person, where he sometimes talks about himself in the second person. Which sounds stupid as fuck and is every bit as irritating as you are thinking it might be.


Basic story: Rich kid Charlie has apparently died in a plane crash. Lena and Aubrey both go to his funeral and find out that they both believe that they were his girlfriend. Heavy handed suspense building occurs - is Charlie even dead? They must find out the truth!


They embark on a poorly-conceived road trip across the globe to find the truth. Also, as a total aside, but with more heavy-handed attempts at suspense building, Charlie has stolen Aubrey's diary. Aubrey's diary, which contains a TERRIBLE SEKRET! And Aubrey is worried that someone will find out her TERRIBLE SEKRET! 


Oh, God, someone shoot me now.


First they go to Mumbai, which Lena insists on calling Bombay 'cause, you know, that's what rich kids do. Everyone who is anyone still calls it Bombay. Fuck the actual people of India. And, in a strange coincidence - this book is filled with strange coincidences, which is apparently what passes for plotting - the boy that Aubrey cheated on Charlie with lives in Mumbai, I mean, Bombay. Also, there's a drug dealer, and an incident where they are sort of kidnapped and rolled, although they do, at least, wake up with all their organs.


By this time, this is my expression as I'm reading:



And then we find out two things: first of all, Aubrey's TERRIBLE SEKRET is, in fact, pretty terrible. Turns out that adorable Aubrey ran over a homeless guy in her car and left him to die. And Charlie knows this and has been blackmailing her. Also, Aubrey cheated on Charlie with Mumbai guy, Adam, who she met once.


By now, I'm like:



And, Charlie is pissed.


Oh, Charlie's not actually dead. You got that, right?


No, in a manoevre that would have made James Bond and Jason Bourne proud, teenaged rich kid manages to - without anyone knowing - get his pilot's license and learn to skydive and then crash his rich father's plane after parachuting out of it, after planting bloody evidence to suggest that he died in the crash.


You know, like this guy:



Or this guy:



Well, maybe more like this guy:



Uh huh. That's possible. If by possible, you mean could never fucking happen in one million years.


And Charlie is pissed at Aubrey for cheating on him. Because, yeah, a guy who is literally banging two chicks at once has every right to be mad at one of them for cheating on him. Also, Charlie has apparently lost his mind, and can't even tell his two girlfriends apart. He has to keep lists about them or he will forget which one he is in bed with. Aubrey likes purple, pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain. 


Wait, no, that's some stupid song from the 80's. But you see my point.


OMG, this book is so bad. So, so, so bad.


The characterizations are wafer-fucking-thin. Aubrey is the Indiana girl, from a normal family, who eats tuna casserole. Hello, 1955 called. It wants it's cliched middle America family dinner back. And Lena is the globe-trotting trust fund brat who likes vinyl records. Isn't she just so hip?


And Charlie. Charlie is the eeevil criminal mastermind extraordinaire because he set this whole thing up:


"They’ll find Anand, and Dane—or is it Dana now?—because you want them to. And when they do, they’ll know the truth, and they’ll suffer. The truth—your plan for them—will destroy them."


Cue Snidely Whiplash in the corner, gleefully rubbing his hands together and cackling.


Honestly, I've met cartoon characters with more depth. Fucking Foghorn Leghorn is more believable than these people.



Marissa Mayer's series involving mythical fairy tale princesses in outer space has characters with more depth and resemblance to reality than anything in this so called contemporary.


And, adding insult to injury, it is a cliff-hanger ending. There will be a sequel. Because there was just sooooo much in this book that it requires two - or maybe even three - books to tell the whole story.



Fuck that.