The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price

The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price

Book - 2016
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It seems like Mom's death meant losing everything else Charlie Price loved, too. And just when he thinks things can't get any worse, his sister, Imogen, starts missing school and making up lies about their mother. But everything changes when one day he follows her down a secret passageway in the middle of her bedroom and sees for himself: Imogen has found a parallel world where Mom is alive! There's hot cocoa and Scrabble and scavenger hunts again and everything is perfect... at first. As Imogen starts to spend more and more time on the other side, Charlie knows he has to uncover the truth, before he loses himself, the true memory of their mother, and Imogen... forever.
Publisher: New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062380104
0062380109
Branch Call Number: JF MASCH-J
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Charlie Price

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FindingJane Mar 25, 2016

Reading almost like a poor man’s version of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline”, Ms. Maschari’s book features many of the usual elements: an unhappy child, a child-stealer, an animal guide, deceptive enticements and the threat of death or erasure.

However, there are certain differences. The people who come to the Not-Place aren’t bored children but grief-stricken mourners, desperate to retrieve people who have died in the real world. The titular child is drawn into this unreal realm to save his sister, just as Coraline came back to the Other Mother to rescue her parents. But this novel opens up their world a bit. Instead of limiting it to one big house, there is a school, library, bowling alley, pretzel shop and an observatory, among other places.

This novel probes a bit deeper than Gaiman’s. Instead of being caught up in the magic of the Not-Place, the reader, as well as Charlie Price, learns to deal with the nature of heartache, to come to terms with unwelcome notions of maturity—the unfairness of death, the loss of loved ones, the importance of the living (even when the latter don’t seem to understand you). This book thus becomes emotionally profounder and richer than Gaiman’s, with timely help from adults provided to the kids.

In the end, the novel has enough originality to distinguish it from Gaiman’s and possesses its own lure.

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