Naturally, Charlie is one of those books that I had never heard of, found on NetGalley and thought, “Hmm. Why not?” The premise of the book is very fun – a woman trying to escape the past and start anew and a man who’s trying to shake off social pressures to be himself. I really think it’s this part of the summary on GoodReads that sealed the deal for me: “Rejecting family money, and fast-lane friends, he is snubbed by his family as he follows his own compass to a life more extraordinary.” I’m always a fan of stories that shake their fist at society and resist authority. It’s probably a sign of my inner rebel that’s dying to get out. I’ll keep her quiet for now.
I’ll be honest, I opened this book three times before I read it. Each time I never got past the first page of my e-reader. I guess it was just bad timing? I was a little apprehensive about the male & female characters sharing a name; I didn’t want it to be cliché. Something about it called to me this past weekend though, and once I opened it, I couldn’t stop. I can’t even put my finger on exactly what it was about these characters that compelled me to keep reading, but it’s been a while since I’ve become so lost in a story this way.
The characters were likable, believable and REAL. They try to do the right things, they make mistakes, and they sometimes get it more right than they know. It’s written in an alternating point of view; since the main characters share the same name, Charlie, each chapter is denoted with a male (♂) or female (♀) symbol so you’ll know who’s narrating. I was happy to see S.L. Scott didn’t follow a true M/F/M/F… pattern; sometimes the same same person narrated two or more consecutive chapters.
The first time the Charlies encounter each other you see the connection. I applaud the writer for not making this a true love-at-first-sight, insta-love kind of story. It would have been so easy to do. There are so many obstacles in their path, but after a few blunders, the Charlies establish a friendship. Friendship is the right word for it, although It’s apparent to the reader that perhaps each wants more. Their friendship is so easy, I loved their witty banter. I did find myself a little frustrated after one particularly steamy scene (by steamy I mean HOT) where they each give in to their attraction when they go back to maintaining friendship. The reason for it makes sense – neither wants to lose this relationship with the other, but I was rooting for them SO HARD. It hurt to see them take a step back.
The emotions in this book were raw for me. Each character is dealing with some heavy baggage, and you feel it all. Charlie (♂) seems to realize what Charlie (♀) is becoming for him well before she does. He doesn’t want to push her, and the way he finds to express his feelings is just so…sweet is the wrong word. Incredible and powerful. The fact that it became so important in the end made it all the sweeter. There were two distinct moments where I felt like S.L. Scott ripped my heart out and stomped on it: one was a scene in the Adams’s dining room and the other was in Chapter 30. I’m not just talking “Awww! :'(” kind of moments here. I am talking HEART = BROKEN. Me finding the author’s twitter handle so I can virtually shake her. (In a moment of rare self-control I refrained. LOL) Instead I read on until finally I reached that moment where all became clear to everyone involved. I swear it was like I could hear a choir of angels singing. HALLELUJAH!
To find a book I loved like this from a new author is a total WIN. I cannot wait to see what else S.L. Scott has in store for us in her future works.
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!