Review: Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person, Female & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Friendship, Romance


In Paris, family and friends gather to mourn the tragic passing of Charlie Price—young, handsome, charming, a world-traveler—who is presumed dead after an explosion. Authorities find only a bloodied jacket, ID’d as Charlie’s. At the funeral, two teens who are perfect strangers, Lena Whitney and Aubrey Boroughs, make another shocking discovery: they have both been dating Charlie, both think Charlie loved them and them alone, and there is a lot they didn’t know about their boyfriend. Over the next week, a mind-bending trip unfolds: first in London—then in Mumbai, Kerala, and Bangkok, the girls go in search of Charlie. Is he still alive? What did their love for him even mean? The truth is out there, but soon it becomes clear that the girls are harboring secrets of their own.

No one knows whom to trust in this thrilling tale of suspense and deception.


This book is so dull and uneventful. I am not feeling inclined to muster any motivation that will help me get past page 114. Absolutely not.

It’s the story of two girls – Lena and Aubrey – whom both dated a guy named Charlie. But they didn’t know this liar was cheating on them before going to his funeral and stumbling upon each other. Now the girls are perplexed and can smell something fishy in the air. After all, no body was found. Could it be that he is still alive? There’s this slight possibility… and so Lena and Aubrey pack up their things and disappear in search for their missing ex-boyfriend.

I think both characters are stupid. Not because they were duped (Charlie was pretty secretive and clever in his doing), but mostly for the reason that they both start trusting each other to an elevated point not even a day after their first meeting. They know nothing about the other person, yet they still fly off to different countries together, like secret agents on an important mission. I know that there would be no plot without them acting this way, but still. I don’t think someone would actually do that – I wouldn’t. And, two girls alone in multiple foreign countries? Talk about imprudence.

Despite all that, I would have still kept on reading, if only it weren’t such a slow-paced book filled with unnecessary filler information. I see no point in learning what your parents might be doing while you’re with Lena, Aubrey, and I don’t care about the type of food they’re probably eating at diner. The characters are so boring. There’s nothing special about them, and to me they seemed pretty similar to one another, except for Lena being impulsive. Charlie, however, is mentally lost (and mentally ill, I assume). He doesn’t know what he wants, what he needs, WHO he needs, and what to do with his life. We had (up to where I got) some chapters with his point of view, and I must say that they were the only ones I truthfully enjoyed… but there were merely a few of them.

The romance… heavy sigh. Too much infidelity in this story for me to bear.

I planned on DNFing Charlie, Presumed Dead when I was on page 90, but then felt bad about it since it always makes me feel uncomfortable to DNF physical ARCs but, well, I have so many (hopefully) great reads waiting for me, that I preferred stopping a few chapters later than continuing with much struggling involved.

Bye-bye, book.

15 thoughts on “Review: Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

  1. I’m really sorry this wasn’t a good book for you 😦 —I was planning on reading it, but maybe now I might shift it to the back of my TBR. Hope you have better luck with other books 🙂


  2. Hahaha another reviewer that didn’t like Charlie, Presumed Dead ;P So so many of my friends hated this book and GAH I’M JUST LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO TELL ME ONE GOOD THING ABOUT THE BOOK SO THAT I CAN START READING IT!!! The cover’s pretty though, isn’t it?


  3. I just published my review of this book yesterday. I thought some parts were slow, but man both characters got on my nerves. They kept complaining about trust issues even though they had only known each other two days! And you should be glad you didn’t finish it. There was a MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER and no indications there will be a sequel. Ugh, so freaking annoying.


  4. I actually wanted to read this one when i first heard about it but i wasn’t a hundred percent sure so i didn’t request it. Oh boy am I thrilled now. I don’t know how i feel about this one. I reaal like i’d be RAGING if i had to read all those things. They’re just too much for me.


  5. OH god this actually sounds pretty bad… the whole plot seems ridiculous. Sometimes I wonder… Have these YA characters families that worry about them? Seriously though… it’s completely unbelievable, even more if they just travel around Europe like nothing, and I’m not surprised you DNFed it but again, sorry you had to. Great review Lola!


  6. I saw this one on Goodreads the other day and was sucked in by that cover so I’m realllly glad I saw this review-this one is not for me. Slow pacing will filler makes me automatically cringe since it’s my number one pet peeve when starting a book. Gah. Anyways, nice review, hope you read something awesome next!


  7. Nooooo 1 star 😦 Well, I haven’t read it yet so I can’t comment on the actual content but the cover is so pretty though. I might just skip it now, thank you for the helpful review Lola 🙂


  8. I’m with you. I don’t care who sent it to me, if I am not enjoying a book, then no, not going to finish it. This cover is gorgeous. I imagine that alot of readers might approach it for that. Out of anything, the romance sounds the worse to me. Thank you for your honest review.


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