Earth to Charlie

Earth to Charlie

A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars. Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit th...

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Title:Earth to Charlie
Author:Justin Olson
Rating:

Earth to Charlie Reviews

  • Justin Olson

    I'm going to go ahead and rate my book. I just kept thinking about it, wondering, "Should I really rate my own novel? Is that corny? Silly? Will people laugh at me? Hate me?"

    Then I thought, "Well, didn't I spend years thinking about, and then writing, Charlie's story? And didn't I spend even more time working on getting it to the point where it's mere months from its publication? And isn't the nearly half-decade of time worthy of five stars?"

    Well, to be honest, who knows. People rate books 5 s

    I'm going to go ahead and rate my book. I just kept thinking about it, wondering, "Should I really rate my own novel? Is that corny? Silly? Will people laugh at me? Hate me?"

    Then I thought, "Well, didn't I spend years thinking about, and then writing, Charlie's story? And didn't I spend even more time working on getting it to the point where it's mere months from its publication? And isn't the nearly half-decade of time worthy of five stars?"

    Well, to be honest, who knows. People rate books 5 stars or 1 star for the most random of reasons. But I do know that I love this story. I think of Charlie, Seth, Susan, Geoffrey, Eloise, Tickles, and the rest, as people worthy of love. So to hell with it. I'm going to rate EARTH TO CHARIE the whole 5 stars, because that's how brightly this book shines in my life.

  • Jerell

    As a diverse reader of color and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, this book had me misty eyed and emotional. I was able to relate in a universal way and I’m sure everyone of ALL walks of life will be able to take a lot from it. We need more books like this. The kind that reminds us that we’re all human. I literally hugged the book after reading it. There’s not enough YA books for young boys growing up that are thoughtful, emotional, and sensitive in a way that lets you know it’s okay... and i

    As a diverse reader of color and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, this book had me misty eyed and emotional. I was able to relate in a universal way and I’m sure everyone of ALL walks of life will be able to take a lot from it. We need more books like this. The kind that reminds us that we’re all human. I literally hugged the book after reading it. There’s not enough YA books for young boys growing up that are thoughtful, emotional, and sensitive in a way that lets you know it’s okay... and it’s alright. And you’re not alone. This is the book that’s missing from the lists and “hype” out there. It’s understated and truly shines in its writing and language that’s engrossing and evocative. It’s honest, visceral, and Justin Olson is truly a shining voice in YA that needs to be cherished. He’s going to be your new favorite writer and I can’t wait for his next book.

  • Alexandra Nae

    (You can also find this

    on my blog!)

    I had high hopes for this book, and I am telling you now—it did not disappoint. From UFO's, to friendship, to family, to awkward teens, to a cute dog, and to some self-realizations, I adored everything about this book.

    This is a DRC I received from Edelweiss.

    The writing style is wonderful! It's light and easy, but it was also beautiful and melancholic, and at times, even poetic. For me, it has the same style as Aristotle and Dante Discover the

    (You can also find this

    on my blog!)

    I had high hopes for this book, and I am telling you now—it did not disappoint. From UFO's, to friendship, to family, to awkward teens, to a cute dog, and to some self-realizations, I adored everything about this book.

    This is a DRC I received from Edelweiss.

    The writing style is wonderful! It's light and easy, but it was also beautiful and melancholic, and at times, even poetic. For me, it has the same style as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (which is one of my favorite books out there!). When I read it, I didn't want to put it down (but I had to because of work *cries*), I just wanted to read and read.

    I also loved how the narration of the story slipped between the present happenings to these sort of flashbacks in Charlie's life. It's like he's zoning out, and I, the reader, zone out with him and I get to relive his memory. Kudos to the author, because that for me, was brilliant. (*slow caps*) In a way, this also connects to the title of the book. Because apart from the fact that Charlie wants to be taken away by aliens, he also keeps zoning out into his own little bubble of thoughts and emotions.

    I loved the characters! The protagonist Charlie is really damn relatable, and I guess this is the reason why I had so much fun reading this story. His thoughts and emotions were just so pure and genuine, and awkward. I could really see that he was just this high school outcast, struggling with emotions and is trying to cope with his mother's disappearance.

    Seth was likeable, too, although I really wanted more of his personality, more of his story. (And I did get some of his story, but it was only revealed near the end of the book.) He was a genuine character who contributed greatly to Charlie's life and view on certain things. I also loved the interactions between him and Charlie, because it shows just how much of a teenager they are. They're awkward and shy, and their friendship is so pure. I loved that. 

    Geoffrey, though he was only a minor character, has a special place in my heart. He was Charlie's 600-pound neighbor, and I loved getting to know his character and his whole story. And in the end, I was really happy that he had a wholesome character development.

    Charlie's dad, on the other hand, makes me have conflicted feelings. I wasn't fond of him at first but as the story progresses, I see his character developing and changing. There's something about him that still irks me, though. (But I won't be telling you anything as I do not want to spoil you, book nerds! You just have to see for yourself. *winks*)

    The plot was uncomplicated, and yet the story is so poignant and real. Maybe because it was about a teenager who yearns to disappear, maybe because it's about trying to cope with something so terrible and sad. Or maybe because it was also about finding yourself, and recognizing your dreams and your wants, and embracing the life you have. Whatever it is, it definitely worked for me (I think I cried three times reading this book *sniffs*).

    There were two things in the plot though, small details, that raised some questions for me. And I hoped that it would be answered before the story ends, but it wasn't. (Yeah, I'm a little bummed about this). But despite that, I still loved this book, I loved how the story went, and who knows maybe I will get answers on the official release.

    I’m giving this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Congratulations in advance to Justin Olson for this debut novel, and I can’t wait to finally have a physical copy on my hands!

  • Karol Silverstein

    The word that kept coming to me over and over as I read this engaging story was "tender." Charlie interacts with the people in his life - his grandma who he visits regularly though she rarely recognizes him, his very overweight neighbor Geoffrey and Geoffrey's three-legged dog Tinkles, his new friend from school, Seth - with such an open heart and with such kindness, that it makes the reader feel tremendously connected to him. His emotions are deeply felt and we feel them all along with him. The

    The word that kept coming to me over and over as I read this engaging story was "tender." Charlie interacts with the people in his life - his grandma who he visits regularly though she rarely recognizes him, his very overweight neighbor Geoffrey and Geoffrey's three-legged dog Tinkles, his new friend from school, Seth - with such an open heart and with such kindness, that it makes the reader feel tremendously connected to him. His emotions are deeply felt and we feel them all along with him. The book stays with you long after putting it down too. This is a great read for fans of contemporary/realistic YA (yes, even with aliens - this story is as real as it gets!) and is a lovely study in empathy and friendship.

  • J.H. Trumble

    So excited to see this book making it's way into the world. I suck at writing reviews, so let me just say read it! CHARLIE is original, quirky, tender. I could def see this one coming to the big screen one day.

  • Naomi Milliner

    What a terrific read! I felt profound sympathy for the highly likable MC, Charlie. He's so unhappy with his life that he longs to be abducted by aliens, and reunited with his mother. His sadness and loneliness are beautifully depicted, and the supporting cast of characters is strong and interesting. I had no idea where the story was headed, but I was completely satisfied with the ending. Sweet and powerful, this book is well worth reading, and I feel that anyone can relate to Charlie. Fantastic

    What a terrific read! I felt profound sympathy for the highly likable MC, Charlie. He's so unhappy with his life that he longs to be abducted by aliens, and reunited with his mother. His sadness and loneliness are beautifully depicted, and the supporting cast of characters is strong and interesting. I had no idea where the story was headed, but I was completely satisfied with the ending. Sweet and powerful, this book is well worth reading, and I feel that anyone can relate to Charlie. Fantastic debut novel!

  • Garan

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Whew. This book was an emotional ride. I really enjoyed the writing choices and how the narration was so natural and conversational. It really made me feel connected to Charlie from the start. He is such an earnest and pure character that you can’t really help but feel for him and his plight.

    I think there was a great deal of excellent work done on the supporting characters and I really enjoyed ge

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Whew. This book was an emotional ride. I really enjoyed the writing choices and how the narration was so natural and conversational. It really made me feel connected to Charlie from the start. He is such an earnest and pure character that you can’t really help but feel for him and his plight.

    I think there was a great deal of excellent work done on the supporting characters and I really enjoyed getting to know all the unique people in Charlie’s life.

    I think the plot and the gravity of the story really hinges on how Olson depicted Charlie’s sadness and loneliness. This is where the book really found its wings for me and made it so important to me. It’s a very delicate thing to write about and Olson did so very beautifully.

    This is a wonderful debut and I look forward to more of Olson’s work.

  • Malanie

    was a cute, gentle story that just never felt *finished*. The author sets up so many important themes for us and never provides a resolutions!!!

    Especially for the romance/friendships. Something to hang on to out in this cold, confusing world.

    Charlie Dickens is a high school freshman obsessed with aliens. He believes aliens abducted

    was a cute, gentle story that just never felt *finished*. The author sets up so many important themes for us and never provides a resolutions!!!

    Especially for the romance/friendships. Something to hang on to out in this cold, confusing world.

    Charlie Dickens is a high school freshman obsessed with aliens. He believes aliens abducted his (willing) mother, leaving him temporarily behind with an alcoholic/neglectful father. BUt they're coming back for him one day and he's extremely hopeful. Charlie spends his time searching for signs of aliens, visiting his grandmother (who I believe has dementia), and his obese neighbor (+ his neighbor’s three-legged dog). He's also bullied all the time and has no friends.

    Then, in the very last week of his freshman year, he meets a new boy named Seth!! And they becomes ~the best of friends~

    The plot follows Charlie becoming closer and closer to discovering aliens, meanwhile slowly becoming best friends with Seth. This was an amazing part of the book; I love strangers-friends-best friends. + I felt they had more platonic chemistry than romantic and I wish they could've remained this way!!!!! (((I would like my gravestone to say, friendship is just as strong as any romance.))))

    ; and so many books with queer main characters already feature romance. Which is amazing!! But when I read

    I realized that we never get queer protagonists just living their lives and making friendships, with platonic bonds as the main theme of the story?????? & I thought that was the direction the book was going and then it didn’t, so I was sad.

    ➡️The romance. Charlie has tiny moments throughout the story where he 1)

    2)

    , but it’s unclear whether it’s platonic or romantic. Because I don’t care what anyone says, people can feel fiercely jealous over their friends, sometimes more than over a romantic partner, 3)

    But even as these things develop, and Seth outright comes out to him and Charlie hints he may want to date, he never forms a complete thought?? He’ll have A Feeling, then take a giant step back. It was so frustrating.

    But you know how a romance can feel like a major plot element, and you’re given a million signs they’ll end up together in the end? And then the romance feels like it’s been dropped randomly onto the floor and completely ignored. That’s largely what happens.

    ➡️

    Charlie’s dad is a complete jerk and even though we’re supposed to kind of forgive him and feel hopeful, there really wasn’t a reason to. So I refused.

    ➡️

    The shift from Aliens As A Lifestyle to,,,,respectable young man with a normal future was not gradual. I was amazed at how fast our boy became a normal person!! In fact, I think everyone was collectively shocked.

    |||| I don’t want to go into too many details, so I hope I’m making sense. It’s one of those stories that FEEL incomplete, but then when you go to try to explain why and you just really want to say “idk it just does”. |||||||

    I know this review is largely negative and it may seem like I hated it. But I actually didn't hate it at allll!!! I’d love to read something else by Justin Olson. This was his debut novel and I think he has so much potential for future books!! The dialogue was there, the MC had a distinct voice, the prose was beautiful. All my sad opinions have to do with the plot and how it felt incomplete. Other people might feel like the book is just being subtle and soft and I'm just mean.

    If I felt more of a resolution to things, I’d for sure give this book at least ⅘ stars.

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  • anna (readingpeaches)

    we always knew wanting to be abducted by aliens was gay culture

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  • Dylan

    we are the ants? is that you? i CANNOT wait. This sounds so much like my favorite book.

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