The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price

Jennifer Maschari. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-238010-4
Maschari makes her debut with a well-conceived but uneven fantasy, in which 12-year-old Charlie and his younger sister, Imogen, explore a magical, dangerous parallel universe after the death of their mother. Mature, responsible, and a lover of the reliability of math, Charlie thinks in terms of puzzles and problems, and strives to care for his sister, including poignantly and comically failing to recreate their mother's spaghetti sauce. The siblings' grief seems momentarily lessened when Imogen shows Charlie a door under her bed that leads to a facsimile of their home, where their mother eagerly recreates cherished moments from their time together. However, these memories disappear after each visit, and the seductive appeal of this other world becomes increasingly sinister as the children begin to lose interest in the real world. Charlie and Imogen's emotional turmoil is at times heavy-handed, particularly in Charlie's grief group sessions, and the fantasy realm somewhat sketchily conveyed. Still, Maschari delivers a tense allegory about finding the balance between remembering and moving on. Ages 8–12. Agent: Victoria Marini, Gelfman Schneider. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 02/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-238012-8
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