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Earth to Charlie

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A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars. Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit th A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars. Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit that he doesn’t have many reasons to stick around; he doesn’t get along well with his father, he’s constantly bullied at school and at work, and the only friend he has is his 600-pound neighbor Geoffrey, and Geoffrey’s three-legged dog, Tickles. Then Charlie meets popular, easy-going Seth, who shows him what real friendship is all about. For once, he finds himself looking around at the life he’s built, rather than looking up. But sooner than he expected, Charlie has to make a decision: should he stay or should he go?


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A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars. Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit th A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars. Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit that he doesn’t have many reasons to stick around; he doesn’t get along well with his father, he’s constantly bullied at school and at work, and the only friend he has is his 600-pound neighbor Geoffrey, and Geoffrey’s three-legged dog, Tickles. Then Charlie meets popular, easy-going Seth, who shows him what real friendship is all about. For once, he finds himself looking around at the life he’s built, rather than looking up. But sooner than he expected, Charlie has to make a decision: should he stay or should he go?

30 review for Earth to Charlie

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justin Olson

    I'm going to go ahead and rate my book. I just kept thinking about it, wondering, "Should I really rate my own novel? Is that corny? Silly? Will people laugh at me? Hate me?" Then I thought, "Well, didn't I spend years thinking about, and then writing, Charlie's story? And didn't I spend even more time working on getting it to the point where it's mere months from its publication? And isn't the nearly half-decade of time worthy of five stars?" Well, to be honest, who knows. People rate books 5 s I'm going to go ahead and rate my book. I just kept thinking about it, wondering, "Should I really rate my own novel? Is that corny? Silly? Will people laugh at me? Hate me?" Then I thought, "Well, didn't I spend years thinking about, and then writing, Charlie's story? And didn't I spend even more time working on getting it to the point where it's mere months from its publication? And isn't the nearly half-decade of time worthy of five stars?" Well, to be honest, who knows. People rate books 5 stars or 1 star for the most random of reasons. But I do know that I love this story. I think of Charlie, Seth, Susan, Geoffrey, Eloise, Tickles, and the rest, as people worthy of love. So to hell with it. I'm going to rate EARTH TO CHARIE the whole 5 stars, because that's how brightly this book shines in my life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Malanie

    ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review Earth To Charlie was a cute, gentle story that just never felt *finished*. The author sets up so many important themes for us and never provides a resolutions!!!& I need stories that give me a solid resolution.Especially for the romance/friendships. Something to hang on to out in this cold, confusing world. ✨What is this book about?✨ Charlie Dickensresolutions!!!& ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review Earth To Charlie was a cute, gentle story that just never felt *finished*. The author sets up so many important themes for us and never provides a resolutions!!!& I need stories that give me a solid resolution.Especially for the romance/friendships. Something to hang on to out in this cold, confusing world. ✨What is this book about?✨ Charlie Dickens is a high school freshman obsessed with aliens. He believes aliens abducted his (willing) mother, leaving him temporarily behind with an alcoholic/neglectful father. BUt they're coming back for him one day and he's extremely hopeful. Charlie spends his time searching for signs of aliens, visiting his grandmother (who I believe has dementia), and his obese neighbor (+ his neighbor’s three-legged dog). He's also bullied all the time and has no friends. Then, in the very last week of his freshman year, he meets a new boy named Seth!! And they becomes ~the best of friends~ The plot follows Charlie becoming closer and closer to discovering aliens, meanwhile slowly becoming best friends with Seth. This was an amazing part of the book; I love strangers-friends-best friends. + I felt they had more platonic chemistry than romantic and I wish they could've remained this way!!!!! (((I would like my gravestone to say, friendship is just as strong as any romance.)))) I feel like this book didn’t need to have a romance; and so many books with queer main characters already feature romance. Which is amazing!! But when I read Darius the Great is Not Okay I realized that we never get queer protagonists just living their lives and making friendships, with platonic bonds as the main theme of the story?????? & I thought that was the direction the book was going and then it didn’t, so I was sad. Especially considering the romance basically just caused awkward tension within their relationship and brought no one happiness So what parts of the plot can you expect to drop away unexpectedly/slip through your fingers like sand? ➡️The romance. Charlie has tiny moments throughout the story where he 1) thinks Seth is handsome af 2) feels jealous over Seth, but it’s unclear whether it’s platonic or romantic. Because I don’t care what anyone says, people can feel fiercely jealous over their friends, sometimes more than over a romantic partner, 3) questions whether he’s ever felt attracted to anyone (of any gender) and if he may be attracted to Seth. But even as these things develop, and Seth outright comes out to him and Charlie hints he may want to date, he never forms a complete thought?? He’ll have A Feeling, then take a giant step back. It was so frustrating. I know that he’s just coming to terms with his sexuality, and also coming to terms with friendship. But you know how a romance can feel like a major plot element, and you’re given a million signs they’ll end up together in the end? And then the romance feels like it’s been dropped randomly onto the floor and completely ignored. That’s largely what happens. ➡️The father/son relationship. Charlie’s dad is a complete jerk and even though we’re supposed to kind of forgive him and feel hopeful, there really wasn’t a reason to. So I refused. ➡️Charlie’s obsession with aliens. The shift from Aliens As A Lifestyle to,,,,respectable young man with a normal future was not gradual. I was amazed at how fast our boy became a normal person!! In fact, I think everyone was collectively shocked. |||| I don’t want to go into too many details, so I hope I’m making sense. It’s one of those stories that FEEL incomplete, but then when you go to try to explain why and you just really want to say “idk it just does”. ||||||| ✨Overall✨ I know this review is largely negative and it may seem like I hated it. But I actually didn't hate it at allll!!! I’d love to read something else by Justin Olson. This was his debut novel and I think he has so much potential for future books!! The dialogue was there, the MC had a distinct voice, the prose was beautiful. All my sad opinions have to do with the plot and how it felt incomplete. Other people might feel like the book is just being subtle and soft and I'm just mean. If I felt more of a resolution to things, I’d for sure give this book at least ⅘ stars. TW: child neglect due to alcoholic parent/parent suffering from mental illness, bullying, supporting character hospitalized, death of a loved one, loved one with dementia |✨BLOG✨| ✨TWITTER✨|✨BOOKSTAGRAM✨|

  3. 4 out of 5

    anna (readingpeaches)

    we always knew wanting to be abducted by aliens was gay culture Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin | Reads Rainbow

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katie Gallagher

    Check out my blog for more reviews and fun bookish stuff! This was one of those books that I picked up in a random buy-a-thon in Barnes and Noble. The blurb called to me: aliens in Montana? I’m writing a book about aliens in Montana, so this was basically required reading! Slight spoiler, but I think you really ought to know this heading into the book: in the end, Earth to Charlie turned out to be much more of a contemporary book than anything approaching sci-fi. That was a bit of a disappointmen Check out my blog for more reviews and fun bookish stuff! This was one of those books that I picked up in a random buy-a-thon in Barnes and Noble. The blurb called to me: aliens in Montana? I’m writing a book about aliens in Montana, so this was basically required reading! Slight spoiler, but I think you really ought to know this heading into the book: in the end, Earth to Charlie turned out to be much more of a contemporary book than anything approaching sci-fi. That was a bit of a disappointment to me; it’s not the first time this year that I’ve been teased with YA aliens, only for the author to not follow through. But nevertheless, I finished this book within one sitting, which should speak for itself in terms of the easy readability of this book. It’s a comfy page turner, with a small cast and a cozy, small town setting. I’m still searching for YA aliens, but I’ll recommend Earth to Charlie to fans of contemporary coming-of-age fiction, especially if you’re looking for an LGBT thread.

  5. 4 out of 5

    TL

    I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own. ---- This was one of the ones that was high up on my wishlist.. the cover was the first to intrigue, not gonna lie :) The summary caught my eye and I could't click on the giveaway fast enough when it came up. When I finished the book... It took awhile for me to get invested in it, this book is a steady/slow pace and isn't in a hurry to get there. That c I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own. ---- This was one of the ones that was high up on my wishlist.. the cover was the first to intrigue, not gonna lie :) The summary caught my eye and I could't click on the giveaway fast enough when it came up. When I finished the book... It took awhile for me to get invested in it, this book is a steady/slow pace and isn't in a hurry to get there. That came out wrong but what I mean is, the book gets to events in its own time and wants you to get to know everyone involved. Hopefully that made more sense. Problem is, it felt... incomplete. Some things felt like they were plopped into the story tenatively to see if they would stick while others were flitted in and out or a bit rushed into their conclusions. Certain points in the story I would have loved to see developed more too. I did love Seth and Charlie though, despite the issues I had with the story. As for Tickles the dog.. .can I adopt him? How can you not love that little furbaby?:) I did predict one plot point but that didn't bother me.. did feel sad for Charlie though. This was a good book, just not great... some unfufilled potential (for this reader) but I would still say give this one a shot.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Nae

    (You can also find this review on my blog!) I had high hopes for this book, and I am telling you now—it did not disappoint. From UFO's, to friendship, to family, to awkward teens, to a cute dog, and to some self-realizations, I adored everything about this book. This is a DRC I received from Edelweiss. The writing The writing style is wonderful! It's light and easy, but it was also beautiful and melancholic, and at times, even poetic. For me, it has the same style as Aristotle a/>The (You can also find this review on my blog!) I had high hopes for this book, and I am telling you now—it did not disappoint. From UFO's, to friendship, to family, to awkward teens, to a cute dog, and to some self-realizations, I adored everything about this book. This is a DRC I received from Edelweiss. The writing The writing style is wonderful! It's light and easy, but it was also beautiful and melancholic, and at times, even poetic. For me, it has the same style as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (which is one of my favorite books out there!). When I read it, I didn't want to put it down (but I had to because of work *cries*), I just wanted to read and read. I also loved how the narration of the story slipped between the present happenings to these sort of flashbacks in Charlie's life. It's like he's zoning out, and I, the reader, zone out with him and I get to relive his memory. Kudos to the author, because that for me, was brilliant. (*slow caps*) In a way, this also connects to the title of the book. Because apart from the fact that Charlie wants to be taken away by aliens, he also keeps zoning out into his own little bubble of thoughts and emotions. The characters I loved the characters! The protagonist Charlie is really damn relatable, and I guess this is the reason why I had so much fun reading this story. His thoughts and emotions were just so pure and genuine, and awkward. I could really see that he was just this high school outcast, struggling with emotions and is trying to cope with his mother's disappearance. Seth was likeable, too, although I really wanted more of his personality, more of his story. (And I did get some of his story, but it was only revealed near the end of the book.) He was a genuine character who contributed greatly to Charlie's life and view on certain things. I also loved the interactions between him and Charlie, because it shows just how much of a teenager they are. They're awkward and shy, and their friendship is so pure. I loved that.  Geoffrey, though he was only a minor character, has a special place in my heart. He was Charlie's 600-pound neighbor, and I loved getting to know his character and his whole story. And in the end, I was really happy that he had a wholesome character development. Charlie's dad, on the other hand, makes me have conflicted feelings. I wasn't fond of him at first but as the story progresses, I see his character developing and changing. There's something about him that still irks me, though. (But I won't be telling you anything as I do not want to spoil you, book nerds! You just have to see for yourself. *winks*) The plot The plot was uncomplicated, and yet the story is so poignant and real. Maybe because it was about a teenager who yearns to disappear, maybe because it's about trying to cope with something so terrible and sad. Or maybe because it was also about finding yourself, and recognizing your dreams and your wants, and embracing the life you have. Whatever it is, it definitely worked for me (I think I cried three times reading this book *sniffs*). There were two things in the plot though, small details, that raised some questions for me. And I hoped that it would be answered before the story ends, but it wasn't. (Yeah, I'm a little bummed about this). But despite that, I still loved this book, I loved how the story went, and who knows maybe I will get answers on the official release. I’m giving this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Congratulations in advance to Justin Olson for this debut novel, and I can’t wait to finally have a physical copy on my hands! __________________________________________________ 5/24/2019 I finally have a physical copy in my hands and devoured this in a day! There are still some unanswered details, but I just adore this book with my heart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    we are the ants? is that you? i CANNOT wait. This sounds so much like my favorite book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Milliner

    What a terrific read! I felt profound sympathy for the highly likable MC, Charlie. He's so unhappy with his life that he longs to be abducted by aliens, and reunited with his mother. His sadness and loneliness are beautifully depicted, and the supporting cast of characters is strong and interesting. I had no idea where the story was headed, but I was completely satisfied with the ending. Sweet and powerful, this book is well worth reading, and I feel that anyone can relate to Charlie. Fantastic What a terrific read! I felt profound sympathy for the highly likable MC, Charlie. He's so unhappy with his life that he longs to be abducted by aliens, and reunited with his mother. His sadness and loneliness are beautifully depicted, and the supporting cast of characters is strong and interesting. I had no idea where the story was headed, but I was completely satisfied with the ending. Sweet and powerful, this book is well worth reading, and I feel that anyone can relate to Charlie. Fantastic debut novel!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jerell

    As a diverse reader of color and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, this book had me misty eyed and emotional. I was able to relate in a universal way and I’m sure everyone of ALL walks of life will be able to take a lot from it. We need more books like this. The kind that reminds us that we’re all human. I literally hugged the book after reading it. There’s not enough YA books for young boys growing up that are thoughtful, emotional, and sensitive in a way that lets you know it’s okay... and i As a diverse reader of color and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, this book had me misty eyed and emotional. I was able to relate in a universal way and I’m sure everyone of ALL walks of life will be able to take a lot from it. We need more books like this. The kind that reminds us that we’re all human. I literally hugged the book after reading it. There’s not enough YA books for young boys growing up that are thoughtful, emotional, and sensitive in a way that lets you know it’s okay... and it’s alright. And you’re not alone. This is the book that’s missing from the lists and “hype” out there. It’s understated and truly shines in its writing and language that’s engrossing and evocative. It’s honest, visceral, and Justin Olson is truly a shining voice in YA that needs to be cherished. He’s going to be your new favorite writer and I can’t wait for his next book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karol Silverstein

    The word that kept coming to me over and over as I read this engaging story was "tender." Charlie interacts with the people in his life - his grandma who he visits regularly though she rarely recognizes him, his very overweight neighbor Geoffrey and Geoffrey's three-legged dog Tinkles, his new friend from school, Seth - with such an open heart and with such kindness, that it makes the reader feel tremendously connected to him. His emotions are deeply felt and we feel them all along with him. The The word that kept coming to me over and over as I read this engaging story was "tender." Charlie interacts with the people in his life - his grandma who he visits regularly though she rarely recognizes him, his very overweight neighbor Geoffrey and Geoffrey's three-legged dog Tinkles, his new friend from school, Seth - with such an open heart and with such kindness, that it makes the reader feel tremendously connected to him. His emotions are deeply felt and we feel them all along with him. The book stays with you long after putting it down too. This is a great read for fans of contemporary/realistic YA (yes, even with aliens - this story is as real as it gets!) and is a lovely study in empathy and friendship.

  11. 4 out of 5

    J.H. Trumble

    So excited to see this book making it's way into the world. I suck at writing reviews, so let me just say read it! CHARLIE is original, quirky, tender. I could def see this one coming to the big screen one day.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Garan

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Whew. This book was an emotional ride. I really enjoyed the writing choices and how the narration was so natural and conversational. It really made me feel connected to Charlie from the start. He is such an earnest and pure character that you can’t really help but feel for him and his plight. I think there was a great deal of excellent work done on the supporting characters and I reall Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Whew. This book was an emotional ride. I really enjoyed the writing choices and how the narration was so natural and conversational. It really made me feel connected to Charlie from the start. He is such an earnest and pure character that you can’t really help but feel for him and his plight. I think there was a great deal of excellent work done on the supporting characters and I really enjoyed getting to know all the unique people in Charlie’s life. I think the plot and the gravity of the story really hinges on how Olson depicted Charlie’s sadness and loneliness. This is where the book really found its wings for me and made it so important to me. It’s a very delicate thing to write about and Olson did so very beautifully. This is a wonderful debut and I look forward to more of Olson’s work.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brenna Clark

    Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this sweet and impactful book. All my life, I grew up believing in the impossible. My mom raised me on The X-Files, Harry Potter, and so many other fantastical worlds that were too far away to touch but incredibly near and dear to her heart. I felt a huge connection to Charlie in that way, who thinks he is looking for his mom in the stars but is really finding his way with the sky as his map. The way he wakes up every day and names the sky he’s greeting with Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this sweet and impactful book. All my life, I grew up believing in the impossible. My mom raised me on The X-Files, Harry Potter, and so many other fantastical worlds that were too far away to touch but incredibly near and dear to her heart. I felt a huge connection to Charlie in that way, who thinks he is looking for his mom in the stars but is really finding his way with the sky as his map. The way he wakes up every day and names the sky he’s greeting with is so beautiful, and really makes you stop to think when the last time you took the sky in with such reverence. I think this is a book of not only finding yourself, but slowing down enough to feel that connection with nature, other human beings, and being alive. We move so fast and get caught up in the routine of life that we forget to chase our UFOs. We forget to spend a little extra time with our family. We forget that we’re not alone; that the pain in our chest might be a mirror to someone else’s. I loved watching Charlie work through these things, and that the ending was really a beginning as Charlie let go of his past to walk into a new day; a new life. If you’re feeling stuck or life has just gotten you down, this book will pull you out and remind you of the most important thing. You’re alive.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Tyler

    I was having a conversation with my husband a few weeks ago about how hard it was to think of really great role model characters for boys who aren't based on comic books from the early 20th century or sci fi and fantasy movies of the 80's. Then I read Earth to Charlie. It's so rare to find a story about young men struggling with their emotions, learning to deal with friendship, and ultimately learning to be kind to themselves and each other. This one is pitch perfect. Funny and sweet and sad and I was having a conversation with my husband a few weeks ago about how hard it was to think of really great role model characters for boys who aren't based on comic books from the early 20th century or sci fi and fantasy movies of the 80's. Then I read Earth to Charlie. It's so rare to find a story about young men struggling with their emotions, learning to deal with friendship, and ultimately learning to be kind to themselves and each other. This one is pitch perfect. Funny and sweet and sad and awkward in all the ways that make great growing up stories ring true.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ivy

    I was sadly underwhelmed by Earth to Charlie. While the titular character was sweet and interesting, the writing was juvenile and the story felt cut-off and unresolved. Also, the slight fatphobia in Geoffrey's character was uncomfortable and unneeded. Overall, I expected a lot more from this book and felt like I didn't get back what I put into it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)

    This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd Short and Simple Review I picked up this book mainly because it looked like a mix of aliens (one of my older obsessions) and contemporary (one of my newer obsessions). To be honest, with that combination I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. This book is high on contemporary, less on the aliens, but Charlie (our MC) firmly believes that his mother was taken by aliens and that the aliens are coming for him as well. This idea is in the backg This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd Short and Simple Review I picked up this book mainly because it looked like a mix of aliens (one of my older obsessions) and contemporary (one of my newer obsessions). To be honest, with that combination I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. This book is high on contemporary, less on the aliens, but Charlie (our MC) firmly believes that his mother was taken by aliens and that the aliens are coming for him as well. This idea is in the background of the story as Charlie goes to school and makes a new friend, Seth. I really liked the realism in this book. The pacing is pretty slow and not a whole lot happened, but it felt so much like it was showing us real experiences. I loved seeing the growing friendship between Charlie and Seth and I even loved Charlie's interactions with his neighbor and his dog Tickles. Everything just felt authentic, so the fact that not a whole lot happened, made things feel more real. Overall, this is a fantastic debut novel and I will keep my eyes open for any other books by Justin Olson.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I was ready to give this four stars because I enjoyed the relationship between Charlie and Seth, but there was very little happening in this book?

  18. 5 out of 5

    N.

    Earth to Charlie has a cover that makes it look like sci-fi but it's a YA about an outcast who has been waiting for aliens to take him away since the night his mother said she was about to be picked up by aliens and they'd come back for him later . . . and then she disappeared. Charlie's been mercilessly bullied at school but then a new guy arrives and he wants to be friends. Charlie is hesitant. He's a pariah. Why would anyone actually want to be his friend? There are a lot of other things going on: C Earth to Charlie has a cover that makes it look like sci-fi but it's a YA about an outcast who has been waiting for aliens to take him away since the night his mother said she was about to be picked up by aliens and they'd come back for him later . . . and then she disappeared. Charlie's been mercilessly bullied at school but then a new guy arrives and he wants to be friends. Charlie is hesitant. He's a pariah. Why would anyone actually want to be his friend? There are a lot of other things going on: Charlie's grandma is in a nursing home deteriorating from Alzheimer's and he's the only person who ever visits her; Charlie's dad's drinking too much and not present so that Charlie feels alone at home; Charlie's 600-pound neighbor ends up in the hospital and Charlie offers to dog-sit the dog he usually walks but his dad doesn't want a dog in the house. I closed the book with happy tears in my eyes. I thought it was wonderful. Recommended by author David Abrams. When he recommended Earth to Charlie my eye was initially caught by that gorgeous cover. And, it does look like a sci-fi cover, but I looked up the description and thought it still sounded good, after initially being disappointed that it wasn't sci-fi. So glad I bought this book. I've been fighting a book slump and it drew me right in. I wanted to know what happened to Charlie's mother, whether there was more to his friendship with Seth than Seth wanted to admit (this part is handled so beautifully that I just want to give the author a bear hug), what would happen with his neighbor and the dog. I also loved the relationships between Charlie and his grandmother and his friendships with the neighbor, the nice nurse at the nursing home, and Seth. A lovely, moving story of finding your way on Earth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    This hit really close to home and for all the right reasons.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chandra

    Earth to Charlie is unique, clever, humorous, and full of heart. Charlie is such a lovable main character and I spent the whole book wanting to hug him and cheer him on. Earth to Charlie is a highly relatable story told through a very innovative lens. I truly loved this book and look forward to reading it again! 👽💜💙💫

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Bashore

    So, I was lucky enough to win this book in a Twitter giveaway. I loved this book so much. For myself I have a solid connection to the character dealing with his mom's mental health concerns. That feeling of always wanting to fix things or still have faith in the one you love is so pure. I appreciated that. The friendship that this book shows and tell is beautiful. I think there needs to be more books that enable boys/teen boys the chance to read about friendship and relationships with So, I was lucky enough to win this book in a Twitter giveaway. I loved this book so much. For myself I have a solid connection to the character dealing with his mom's mental health concerns. That feeling of always wanting to fix things or still have faith in the one you love is so pure. I appreciated that. The friendship that this book shows and tell is beautiful. I think there needs to be more books that enable boys/teen boys the chance to read about friendship and relationships with LGBTQ+ characters and not always have it specifically be a love story. I have students in my classroom who have not been exposed to that, and this is such a great chance to normalize friendships with ALL people because that is what friendship should be! I am also thankful for the LGBT+Q positivity and themes in this book to show my students that they can be themselves and be brave and the outcome can be ok. Definitely take a chance on this, you won't regret it!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    I absolutely loved this book! Anyone who's ever been a teenager, felt out of place, wished to be some place different, struggled to find themselves, or has had trouble focusing on the present should check this book out. I think I felt the entire range of emotions a human can feel while reading this and a lot of the situations Charlie experienced I found very relatable. I became lost in the story, with no sense of time or the fact that I was even reading anymore. It just flo I absolutely loved this book! Anyone who's ever been a teenager, felt out of place, wished to be some place different, struggled to find themselves, or has had trouble focusing on the present should check this book out. I think I felt the entire range of emotions a human can feel while reading this and a lot of the situations Charlie experienced I found very relatable. I became lost in the story, with no sense of time or the fact that I was even reading anymore. It just flowed. I was in Charlie's world, watching as he navigated life as a high schooler in a small town. There was also a tenderness to this story that isn't found in every novel and was weaved brilliantly through everything Charlie did and the stories he told of others. I'm giving this ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    What a great read. I loved Charlie so much. I felt so much for the character. I was so invested in the book. I cried in some parts and that’s very hard for me to do in a book. That ending though???? I need more information!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    My favorite part of this book was Charlie's excellent relationship with his grandmother, that made me so happy to see in YA. This to me read as a cross between The Sun is Also a Star (not quite as good as) and We are the Ants (much better than), it was quirky and delightful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aj Sterkel

    A quiet story with a unique premise. I love Charlie and Seth's friendship and would have liked more resolution. To me, it feels like the book has a long, slow buildup to a rushed ending. Better review to come . . .

  26. 5 out of 5

    Trudi Olson

    Such a spooky fun read!! A great story that keeps you turning the pages!!!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Neal

    Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC of this title. While I wasn’t fully swept away by his debut YA novel, there’s a certain contentment that I felt as I read it. Firstly, Justin Olson is a great writer, and I imagine he will have a fruitful career with many more novels to come. His writing is simple, easy to read, yet poetic and completely engaging. So many YA novelists tend to over-write and ruin the story with such tactics, but not Justin. He’s a damn Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC of this title. While I wasn’t fully swept away by his debut YA novel, there’s a certain contentment that I felt as I read it. Firstly, Justin Olson is a great writer, and I imagine he will have a fruitful career with many more novels to come. His writing is simple, easy to read, yet poetic and completely engaging. So many YA novelists tend to over-write and ruin the story with such tactics, but not Justin. He’s a damn good writer. While there isn’t much to the storyline itself, I found the simplistic nature of a teenage boy figuring out exactly who he is through family and friendships to be quite refreshing. The characters drove this story, which some authors forget. I found myself drawn to Charlie and invested in him early on. I also enjoyed Seth, Geoffrey, the grandmother, and Susan and how Charlie related to each of these characters. While I wasn’t a fan of his dad, the relationship between father and son, was an accurate representation of how past demons can really put a strain on current life. Themes of friendship, love, and mental health make this a great book for teenagers to read as I’m certain they can find rather relatable threads woven in between the book and their lives.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    Charlie Dickens comes of age in this thoughtful and endearing debut novel by Justin Olson. This book will keep you glued to your seat from start to finish and the character development throughout the novel is well executed. The story is genuine in nature to the experiences of a boy like Charlie in the setting he lives, while the conflicts throughout reflect those of all human nature. Look to the sky but don't forget the ground you stand on in this wonderful story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Disclaimer: I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. When Charlie Dickens was younger, his mother disappeared. Charlie remains convinced that aliens took her because that’s what she said would happen. She told Charlie that one day the aliens would come for him as well, and Charlie has constantly looked for UFOs since then. Now that Charlie is a freshmen in high school, he still believes, and on one of the last days of school, the new kid Seth c Disclaimer: I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. When Charlie Dickens was younger, his mother disappeared. Charlie remains convinced that aliens took her because that’s what she said would happen. She told Charlie that one day the aliens would come for him as well, and Charlie has constantly looked for UFOs since then. Now that Charlie is a freshmen in high school, he still believes, and on one of the last days of school, the new kid Seth catches Charlie looking up UFO sightings in Montana. Rather than make fun of Charlie, Seth is determined to befriend him. Because of Charlie’s past, he is bullied and tries to stay out of sight. He’s not sure what to think of Seth but decides to accept his offer for lunch. The two quickly strike up a quiet friendship. Charlie also deals with his life by visiting his grandma who is in a nursing home and by visiting his neighbor Geoffrey and walking Geoffrey’s three-legged dog Tickles. As the book progresses, Charlie wishes more and more desperately that aliens would come for him and return him to his mother, but his changing circumstances may change that too. This was one of the first YA books I’ve read in a long time that actually centers a freshmen protagonist which was extremely refreshing. It also takes place in a small town (3000 people) where everyone knows everyone’s business. This was also refreshing. The shorter chapters were very refreshing as well. It worked very well with Charlie’s character as the story is told through Charlie’s perspective. Ultimately, Earth to Charlie is a sensitive portrayal of abandonment and being found in the most unusual ways. Earth to Charlie comes out April 16.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andy Winder

    One of the underlying themes in this story was learning to have compassion for yourself and others, as well as the struggles that each person faces. It was reminiscent of the saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a hard battle.” I think that is such a powerful thought and very needed in queer YA books. Charlie was such a sweet protagonist, and I loved reading about his friendships with his somewhat reclusive neighbor Geoffrey and his classmate Seth. It was one of those boo One of the underlying themes in this story was learning to have compassion for yourself and others, as well as the struggles that each person faces. It was reminiscent of the saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a hard battle.” I think that is such a powerful thought and very needed in queer YA books. Charlie was such a sweet protagonist, and I loved reading about his friendships with his somewhat reclusive neighbor Geoffrey and his classmate Seth. It was one of those books that makes you want to look for the good in people you meet every day and try to get to know them better. The story itself was beautifully written and had a way of addressing deep issues in a soft, poetic way. It’s implied, for example, that Charlie’s mom suffered from mental illness throughout her life. These allusions are done in a respectful way that doesn’t feel weighted with stigma or overly heavy themes. It’s thoughtful, but also full of hope and authenticity in a way that makes Earth to Charlie feel really genuine. Earth to Charlie isn’t a queer romance but more of a friendship between two boys who are figuring out a lot about themselves and the world around them. It does, however, feature LGBT themes and main characters. In some ways, I think stories like that are just as important as the love stories. We need more books that show queer teens that healthy friendships are just as valid as romantic relationships. And ones that have close, intimate friendships between guys that don’t necessarily lead to romance. There are many different kinds of love, and sometimes platonic love is undervalued in LGBT YA fiction. This is one of those books where every character feels like they have a rich backstory and are deserving of love. It’s a wholesome, sweet and sometimes sad story. Earth to Charlie is a perfect story for those looking for a coming-of-age YA about finding friends who make you feel less lonely in this wonderful, strange world.

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