Book Review: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

Hiya. How are we?

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been trying to work out how I feel about this book for about a week. Haha. I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with. 🙂

Book: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, by Ben Sherwood

Published: 2004

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Page Count: 273

Goodreads Rating: 4


Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that is transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug new England fishing village. By day he tends the lawn and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.

Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventurous woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbour, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

Luminous, soulful, and filled with unforgettable characters, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is one of those rare, wise books that reveal the mysteries of the unseen world around us, gently transforming the worst pain of loss into hope, healing, and even laughter. Suspenseful and deeply moving, its startling climax reminds us that sometimes tragedies can bring about miracles if we simply open our hearts.


The main characters of this book are Charlie St. Cloud, Sam St. Cloud and Tess Carroll. Charlie was the most promising boy his age until his brother, Sam, died in a car crash that was partly his fault. Charlie is thought to have never recovered from his guilt, though in reality he made a promise to Sam and he keeps that promise to him every day. Charlie is charming and caring and above all, loyal to his brother Sam. Sam is mischievous and funny. I found their relationship to be heartwarming and heartbreaking, simultaneously. Then Tess came into the picture and threatened their promise. I like Tess as a character, she was so vibrant and full of life, though at times an unnecessary risk taker.

I didn’t really connect with these characters, if I’m honest. They just seemed half-sketched to me, or like they weren’t fully formed yet. I’m not sure if this makes any sense. I liked them, but they weren’t memorable.

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The plot idea of this story is brilliant. The idea that Charlie could still interact with his brother is something that I found really interesting. I also loved how the author explained the ‘in-between stage’, between life and death. It was intriguing. I  did see a lot of the plot coming ahead of time, but I think that was mostly because I have seen the movie (Zac Effron 😍) Overall the plot was haunting, intriguing and really beautiful. The story was well-paced and the romance was… wow. At first it seemed a little bit like instalove, but it grew on me and I so badly wanted everything to work out for them.

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Writing Style:

I have never read a book from Ben Sherwood and honestly I had never heard of him before reading this book. The book is written in third person for the most part, except for the introduction and the afterword, which is written from the first person point of view of the fireman who saved Charlie’s life. I liked how the story was written, but something about it left me feeling unfulfilled.

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I liked most things about this book, but overall I was left with something to be desired. I can’t quite work out exactly what was wrong. I think it was just that is was too fast and short. It got to the point of the story straight away and I didn’t have a chance to learn about the characters and care for them. It was good, but it could have been better. The idea was brilliant, but I just didn’t like how it was executed.



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Have you read this book? If you have, what did you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with me?

Luv u,

Ellie ❤



One thought on “Book Review: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

  1. Pingback: December Wrap Up |

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