cover image The Downside of Being Charlie

The Downside of Being Charlie

Jenny Torres Sanchez. Running Press Teens, $9.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-7624-4401-4

Charlie went to “Camp Fit” during the summer before his senior year and lost 30 pounds, but he’s still carrying a heavy load. His volatile mother has disappeared again, and Charlie learns that his father is harboring a secret. Adding to his emotional whiplash, a girl is actually interested in Charlie—dreamy Charlotte VanderKleaton—and Charlie is forced to share a locker with the weirdest girl in school, which makes him seem like a freak by association. Peppered with sardonic humor, debut author Sanchez’s confessional-style prose conveys Charlie’s distress and confusion as his family life disintegrates, he turns to binging and purging, and he navigates an uncertain relationship with Charlotte. With the support of his friend Ahmed—a charming throwback who talks like a member of the Rat Pack—and by confronting his relationships with food and his family via a photography project, Charlie begins to learn who he really is. Sanchez explores the psychological underpinnings of eating disorders while creating a complete character in the closet-brilliant but perennially tongue-tied Charlie. Ages 13–up. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (June)