Charlie's Girl Blog Tour
by Mary-Helen and Daniel Foxx
Cedar Fort, 2012
Grades 7 and up
Reviewed from personal copy.
This is my first blog tour and I'm excited that I get to talk about such a great book! First, the synopsis:
Fourteen-year-old Rosalind has always been a foster girl without a past, until she’s sent to live with a long-lost grandmother in a house full of memories—and secrets. Soon Rosalind discovers that there’s more to her family history than she ever dreamed. Set in 1960s South Carolina, this unforgettable story of family, friendship, and faith is perfect for readers of all ages.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I particularly enjoy reading books about small towns and family and friends and that is what this book is all about. The two main characters are Rosalind, who for most of her first 14 years of life has been shuffled from foster home to foster home, and Grace, Rosalind's grandmother. I found it interesting to read about these two characters who have experienced such heavy losses in their lives. I thought it was fascinating the way Rosalind and Grace developed a relationship through family history. Their work on a school assignment allows Grace to relive some of the great memories of family from the past while Rosalind learns about the father she never knew.
I also liked the way Rosalind and Emily (neighbor across the street) become friends and don't let the rudeness of their fellow classmates get in their way. Some of the secondary characters could have been better developed, especially Mark William, the mischievous neighbor boy who has a crush on Rosalind and Hank, Emily's brother, that Rosalind has a crush on. On the whole I thought the characters were interesting and made the story come alive for me.
I also loved the setting. Reading this book made me want to hop on a bus and visit South Carolina. For me, I find if the setting isn't well done, the rest of the book is hard to enjoy. That is not a problem in this book.
Plotwise, Rosalind's and Grace's relationship develops in a natural way. As Grace slowly faces life again without her husband and son, it's pleasant to see true joy enter her life again. And Rosalind starts to come into her own. The only problem I had was the ending, which left several plot points unresolved (I know real life is like that sometimes, but I like to see problems solved in my books :)). The plot also seemed a bit rushed in spots, but overall a nice read. This book is the first in a series, so I guess I'll just have to wait for the coming books. It will be like waiting for a dear friend to come home.
NOTE: There is a strong religious element in this book, but I felt that it was smoothly done and not out of place. It turns out the Emily is a member of a religion (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon church) that many people in the town consider a cult (it's not). For more information you can visit the churches website here.
Check out Cedar Fort's Blog Tour page for a list of other blogs highlighting this book.