By: Margaret Willey
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: September 2014
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Date: July 29, 2014
A book came along in the literary world back in January of this year titled, Four Secrets, and when that title hit the shelves, the word ‘beautiful’ was used a great deal. The reason for this is because of this amazing author: She took a story, a point from real, everyday teenage life, and made it into a source of entertainment and support all at the same time. Now she’s done it again, and this new incredible read will appear on shelves in September.
This tale opens with Charlie Porter. A haunted young man, he has become used to popping pills and having odd dreams. His head is a playground for bad thoughts...and small nuggets of happiness buried so far within that it’s hard for him to even see them anymore. In a cast from an Achilles tendon tear, Clara, his girlfriend, watches out for him. She is a young woman who likes to ask questions; to probe into someone’s psyche in order to learn more...or, perhaps, just be closer to Charlie. But when she hears him call out his brother’s name during his sleep, that one word causes the entire past to come to light.
Charlie Porter has a gift. He was thrust into the spotlight at a very young age, becoming an author while still a kid. The story was told to him by his mother, and it caught on with one and all, even though it was originally meant to simply stop his father from weeping and feeling bad. The story was about a beetle, and became so popular that there was even a beetle costume made for school events, etc. But what would be happy to some, was not a blessing to Charlie. Now that he’s eighteen, he is still plagued by the beetle, as if it’s some sort of enemy that will take his life away.
What is slowly unearthed is a boy who lived in a broken home. A father, a brother, and a mother who took off, and Charlie must come to terms with the facts of a disjointed past, where small rays of light do poke through the dark clouds every once in a while. Above all, Charlie must find a way to move on – leaving the beetle behind so that he can change his future so it does not mimic the past.
Willey is a great author; she can weave sadness, trauma and tragedy with light, kindness and hope absolutely flawlessly. This allows readers to cry, but tears of faith, not pain. The story is open, fresh, and literally holds one of ‘those’ lines that you will remember long after you’re done with the book: “Good luck with your childhood.”
Goodness knows, it has certainly become one of (if not the most) toughest time life has to offer.