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review 2014-09-24 04:08
Not as good as the Zac Efron movie...
The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud - Ben Sherwood

Don't hate me for this, dear readers, but in this case I have to say - the Zac Efron movie was better than this book. I know, I know! It's almost sacrilege. But, sadly, true. I can promise it doesn't happen often.

Charlie and Sam St. Cloud are the closest of brothers, and when Sam dies in a tragic car accident their bond transcends the here and now to include the inbetween. Due to a promise made just before Charlie was shocked back to life, Sam now hangs between the present and the afterlife. Charlie is also stuck. Since he made his promise to Sam, Sam appears to him every night at sunset in the cemetery where he is buried and Charlie now lives as caretaker. They play catch, they swing, they swim in the river. Neither brother has yet been capable of moving on so they are stuck in the inbetween. Enter Tess Carroll, a sailor who makes Charlie question whether this is really what he wants.

Overall, the story premise was good. And this is why I liked one and not the other. The author had a good idea. Unfortunately, he butchered it with his writing. I'm not sure if it's because I already knew the outcome, but I just wasn't really interested while I was reading. I found there to be a lot of 'telling' as opposed to 'showing' and that a lot of the time I wasn't reading about things that were happening, but instead things about the characters. I was rather bored and waiting for something to happen.

I couldn't understand how and why Charlie and Tess fell in love, it felt a bit superficial to read and I just didn't believe in it. As characters they both seemed a bit wooden and lacking in actual depth. The author just told me stuff about them but didn't let me see these things in action. I just couldn't stay interested because even though there was a story, it felt like nothing was happening. I hoped this book would make me feel something - but I didn't feel anything. I didn't hate it, didn't love it, just mildly tolerated it. And it shouldn't have taken long to read as it was only 269 pages but it took longer than usual for a book this size, reflecting my lack of interest.

I wanted to like it, I did. Based on the movie I thought I was in for a good read but in the end its just another book to put on my shelf and forget about it. It has been a few years since I saw the movie, so it will be interesting to watch it again now and see if I still like it as much as I did back then. Although I'm sure the presence of Zac Efron helps!

This review is also posted at Crash My Book Party. More reviews there!

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text 2014-04-16 20:36
Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Siblings
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
By Sue Monk Kidd: The Secret Life of Bees - -Penguin (Non-Classics)-
Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson
Death Life of Charlie St. Cloud - Ben Sherwood
Three Weeks With My Brother - Nicholas Sparks,Micah Sparks

Top 5 Wednesday was started by gingerreadslainey on booktube where she picks a topic for the week and you list your top 5. It is open to anyone who wants to participate - just check out the links below!

 

This weeks topic is to list your favorite siblings from books you've read. Like I said in another top 5, (top 5 book parents) there aren't very many books I've read that features really good sibling relationships. If they do, they aren't a huge part of the story. Going through my books, I don't have a lot to choose from in which I really enjoyed the sibling dynamic in the story but alas here are my top 5 that really stuck out to me:

 

5. Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks from Three Weeks with my Brother

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- I had a hard time coming up with another book featuring siblings that I really wanted to talk about so I picked real life siblings :) My favorite author is Nicholas Sparks and he wrote a memoir with his brother Micah and it's jumps back and forth between their trip around the world and their life growing up. They have a really great relationship that you really see in this book and they also have a sister named Danielle who passed away from cancer (A Walk to Remember was based on his sister) and their story is amazing. I really admire Nicholas Sparks so much for his books and his story growing up and all that he has been through and accomplished throughout his life. You can tell he is really family oriented and treasures them and a lot of his books are based or inspired by his loved ones.

 

4. Charlie and Sam from The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

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- Charlie lost his younger brother, Sam in a car accident where Charlie was driving and it's very hard on Charlie. Sam really looked up to him and they had a great older-younger sibling dynamic. Charlie has a gift where he is able to still see and interact with Sam's spirit. This is a very sad and moving book about their relationship and Charlie dealing with his grief - I enjoyed their brotherly bond!

 

3. Warren,Taylor, and Gelsey from Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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- I liked the relationships these siblings had and how they grow through the story. All of the siblings are very different and aren't very close with each other but that changes during this summer. The main character, Taylor has an older brother named Warren and he's very smart and but also fairly introverted when it comes to socializing and meeting girls - I love how Taylor helps him in this story with that. They also have a younger sister named Gelsey and she's really into dancing but also doesn't socialize very much and I love how Taylor also helps her with that and hasn't realized how much Gelsey looks up to her. I just really love this story and how it shows so many different relationships (friendship, romantic, siblings, father-daughter)

 

2. August, June, and May from the Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

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- I love these sisters! The main character, Lily and her maid Rosaleen leave their home and come across three sisters that live together. August is the mother hen of the story and really watches out for her sisters and they really depend on her. June is the middle sister and she's very stubborn and skeptical but you know she just has a guard up and she's very protective of her sisters. May is the youngest and the most tenderhearted. They lost a sister, May's twin April and May has taken the biggest hit from that and it has really affected her. The way these three sisters and there for each other and look out for one another is very beautiful :)

 

1. Johnny, Soda, and Ponyboy from the Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

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- This is the first book I immediately thought of when finding out this week's topic. These are my favorite siblings :) Johnny is the oldest brother and takes care of his two younger brothers. He has to step in as a father since they lost their parents. He is definitely the strict and most responsible one of the bunch and this causes a strain between his relationship with his youngest brother and the main character, Ponyboy. They bump heads because Johnny can be hard on him but it's because he cares. Soda Pop is the middle brother and he is definitely the mediator between the two. He's the one that keeps the family going - he's the easy-going lovable guy. He helps Ponyboy when he's having issues with Johnny and he also helps Johnny when he is being to strict. They just have an amazing sibling dynamic that is very important to this story!!

 

Have you read any of these? Do you have any favorite siblings from a book?

 

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Links:

- Gingerreadslainey's (the creator) top 5 siblings video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThC1hs818u8

- The goodreads page with all the participants and important info: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/118368-top-5-wednesday

 

Related Posts:

 

- My Top 5 Wednesday page: http://msbooklover89.booklikes.com/t5wfamily

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review 2013-11-24 01:19
Moving, magical and haunting-a great story
Death Life of Charlie St. Cloud - Ben Sherwood

Opening Line:"Charlie St. Cloud wasn't the best or brightest boy in Essex County, but he was surely the most promising"


I read this a few years ago but after recently seeing the movie I was reminded of how much I’d liked this story and decided I had to revisit Charlie St Cloud and his little brother Sam. Even though I knew the big reveal this time through I was still able to immerse myself completely in this magical, moving journey from death back to life.

With a story and writing style reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks this is an easy, beautiful and somewhat tear-jerking read that I would recommend to fans of his. There is of course a touching love story here but to me this was more about brothers, letting go of the past and embracing life.
 
 
Sherwood also manages to also bring the seaside town of Marblehead Massachusetts to life with quaint and intriguing secondary characters and a unique yachting theme. There were times here when I could actually smell the sea breeze, feel the salt spray on my face and really see his descriptions of clouds and setting suns. So much so that despite the movie being filmed some 50 miles from my (Canadian) back yard I still had the urge to visit New England. I think what I liked most here though was Sherwood’s comforting take on the afterlife; giving us all hope that our departed are with us, all around us and waiting for us.

As a teenager Charlie St. Cloud died in a car accident, brought back after a few minutes by the paramedics his younger brother Sam wasn’t to be so lucky. During those brief moments before Charlie was returned to life he made a promise to his brother that he would never leave him, and he never has. Now 13 years later Charlie is working in a cemetery, he’s still full of guilt over the accident however by some twist of fate he can now see the dead walking amongst the tombstones and every night at sunset he meets Sam in a secret grove where they play baseball together in a Field Of Dreams sort of way. Charlie’s never missed a single sunset with the fear that his brother would fade away if he did, in this way though neither of them has been able to move on. The cemetery almost becomes a character of its own here, no longer feeling like a creepy, sad place but one of magic and adventure.
 
Tess Carol is about to embark on a solo sailing trip around the world so meeting someone like Charlie is definitely not in her plans. Yet despite his odd habit of disappearing at sunset she can’t help but fall in love, these days he seems to be the only one who really “sees” her. When Tess’s boat is lost in a storm Charlie is faced with the ultimate choice between death and life. In joining the search party he chooses love and a future full of possibilities yet in doing so he’ll also break his promise and risk losing his brother forever.
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text 2013-06-13 21:13
Top 10 Favorite Romance Novels
Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley,Stephens Mitchell
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas - James Patterson
Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - William Goldman
The Guardian - Nicholas Sparks
Death Life of Charlie St. Cloud - Ben Sherwood
My Name is Memory - Ann Brashares

I love stories that involve a really good romance, no matter what other genre it fits into. I am definitely a hopeless romantic and enjoy watching romantic movies, reading romantic books, and just anything that involves romance. These are my top 10 favorite love stories :)

 

1. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

3. Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

5. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

6. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

8. The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks

9. The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

10. My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

 

*These aren't in order

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review 2012-08-18 00:00
Charlie St. Cloud: A Novel
Charlie St. Cloud - Ben Sherwood

I liked it. It was thoughtful, flowed well, and reflected on the love between two brothers even after a horrific accident. I watched the movie first, and thought that both were well done.
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