Title: THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE
Author: Jennifer Maschari
Genre: Fantasy Middle-grade
Publish date: Febrary 23, 2016
Blurb: After the death of their mother, Charlie and his sister Imogen discover a secret world where Mom is still alive.
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5
I received an ARC of this beautiful little novel in exchange for an honest review, and it is my absolute pleasure to extoll all its many virtues.
In some ways, CHARLIE PRICE is about grief and mourning. In some ways, it’s about bravery and adventure. And in some ways, it’s about denial, hope, and redemption—and the resilience of the human heart in the face of all of it. Tackling these subjects in the middle-grade sphere can be a challenge, but Maschari writes with incredible wit, humor, and kindness.
At the outset, Charlie is trying desperately to heal from the loss of his mother, and by extension, the perfect life he lived when she was still alive. Now he’s attending a grief group that bores him to tears; his father doesn’t come home from work until late, and dinner is always a messy affair; even his best friend, Elliott, seems to be coping with the loss of her brother Frank better than Charlie’s handling his own grief.
Then Charlie’s younger sister, Imogen, starts acting strangely. She looks like she hasn’t slept in days and she’s dropped out of the school play—as if her will to live has vanished. Charlie discovers the source: a trap door under Imogen’s bed that leads to a parallel world.
A parallel world where their beloved mother is still alive. Where games of Scrabble and perfect meals and stargazing together can be real again.
CHARLIE PRICE is by turns funny, thrilling, adventurous, and outright creepy. The fantasy and the realistic blend perfectly. What startled me most was the well-curated sense of unease as Charlie descends deeper into the escape-world—and the consequences that come from trying to hide from our grief instead of facing it.
Maschari expertly weaves every emotion you’re capable of having into this twisty, hopeful novel. The fantastical backdrop and hilarious dialogue weave a middle-grade adventure that’s perfect for leading young readers through death, healing, and the power of human connection.