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Dear Charlie by N. D. Gomes

Dear Charlie

NewGen - YA Fiction   Thriller / Suspense   Debuts of the Month   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   
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December 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month.

In a Nutshell: Shocking school shooting | Heartache behind headlines A thoroughly thought-provoking tale of a family’s struggle with grief and guilt in the aftermath of an atrocious act committed by a loved one.

It’s Britain, 1996, and sixteen-year-old Sam is plunged into unimaginable turmoil the day his brother Charlie walks into their school and shoots his peers before turning the gun on himself. From that fateful day, Sam’s mum lunges from denial to utter distress, while his dad shuts himself away in the garage (the moment readers discover what he was doing there will bring a lump to the throat, at the very least). In addition, the entire family is ostracised by their community. “Perhaps people thinks it’s a disease they might catch - a contagious need for death and disorder”, Sam wonders. Already eaten up by guilt - would this have happened if he’d been a better brother to Charlie? - Sam is asked not to return to school, which leaves him feeling like he’s being forced to do his brother’s life sentence. His therapist suggests that starting a new school might be his “turning point” and, as things turns out, he’s unexpectedly invited into a new social circle: “They were accepting...they offered you a place without condition or question”. But, while Sam finds strength in these new friendships, not least in his burgeoning romantic feelings for Izzy, his home life is deteriorating further, and the hate mail and abuse intensifies as a petition to ban hand-held guns gains ground nationally.

This big-hearted book doesn’t shirk from tackling big issues, emotions and questions - how do we survive and recover a sense of hope through the most destructive personal tragedies? What leads an individual to commit mass murder, and where does the blame lie? What role does the media play in inciting abuse and prolonging grief? It also gives voice to the oft-forgotten victims of such tragedies, and will make readers think, and see comparable real-life events through different lens.~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Kyra, age 17 - 'Dear Charlie is a heart-rending, thought-provoking and eye-opening read that tackles a devastating, controversial subject in a beautifully honest manner.'
  • Humaira, age 18- 'I usually wouldn't even buy this type of book- I'd be intrigued by it, read the blurb, think it sounded good and put it back. BUT I am over the moon that I read it because Dear Charlie made me feel something that I haven't ever felt with a book before.'
  • Bethan, age 15 - 'This is an interesting and captivating book, different to any young adult books out there.'
  • Rose Heathcote, age  17 - 'I will recommend this book to my friends as I found it very interesting and informative, it gripped me from the begining. I would give it 4/5 stars.'
  • Emily Kinder, age 15 - 'An emotionally tense and elegantly written story about family tragedy, centred around the brother of a school shooter. I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did.'
  • Zara Kazi, age 18 - 'A very powerful novel that is relevant to current events that are happening in the world. Dear Charlie is a must-read.' 
  • Destiny, age 14 - 'Dear Charlie was a very interesting, fascinating read. I loved this novel. '

Win Books from the Manon Bradshaw Thriller Series!

Persons Unknown, the second book in Susie Steiner's crime thriller series, is now out in paperback and to mark the publication we are giving away paperback copies of both Missing, Presumed and Persons Unknown to THREE lucky winners!

To have a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 30 April 2018. The winners will be notified by 14 May 2018,

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Enter prize draw Draw closes: 30/04/2018


Dear Charlie by N. D. Gomes

Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie. At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed. Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong. Endorsed by Amnesty International UK for reminding us that human rights belong to all of us.


`At its searing best the novel demonstrates how the perpetrator of a despicable act can still be loved, forgiven and very missed' - Financial Times

`A very important book [...] a powerful book that will stay with you.' - Culturefly

`An exceptional novel on a controversial and relevant subject today.' - The Bookbag

`An incredibly moving, heartfelt and thought-provoking novel' - Black Plume

`A gripping, eye-opening YA novel that I wish I could put in everyone's hands.' - Pretty Little Memoirs

`You know this book is going to go straight to your heart and rip a little bit of it out.' - Long Story Short

`If you're after a truly thought-provoking book this is well worth a read.' - Bibliowormed

`Utterly heartbreaking and so beautifully written.' - Goodreads reviewer

`Such a clever book.' - Book Angel Booktopia

`Very well written, and tackles a tough subject well' - First News

About the Author

N.D. Gomes graduated from the University of Stirling with a BA in Media & Journalism Studies, and went on to receive her Master's degree in Education in the U.S. She currently works in a public school system to increase educational opportunities for students with special needs. Prior, N.D. Gomes wrote for the London-based online student political magazine, deAlign and stage-managed student plays at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City where she attended for two years. She currently divides her time between the US and Scotland, but hopes to spend more time at her cottage in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. Dear Charlie is her debut novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th October 2016


N. D. Gomes

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HQ an imprint of Harlequin (UK)


287 pages


NewGen - YA Fiction
Thriller / Suspense
Debuts of the Month
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

School stories (Children's / Teenage)
General fiction (Children's / Teenage)



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