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Charlotte Sometimes (Aviary Hall #3)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  1,739 ratings  ·  189 reviews
After Charlotte's first night at boarding school, the view from the window has changed and the girl in the next bed is not the girl who was there last night. She is a stranger who calls Charlotte "Clare" and says she's her sister...
Published September 28th 1972 by Puffin Books (first published 1969)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lisa Vegan
Nov 09, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction, time travel, speculative fiction, boarding school stories
Great fun! I’d have adored this when I was 9, 10, 11. My 10 year old self gives this 5 full stars. If I wasn’t so in touch with my 10 year old self, I might have given this only 4 stars, but it’s a completely delightful and smart story.

It’s very suspenseful. It’s a fun meld of speculative fiction and historical fiction. Some aspects are ingenious. It was fun to try to figure out who one particular character was.

Charlotte is a wonderful character, and I was particularly fond of Emily. The mostly...more
Cyn Coons
I will fully admit that I didn't discover this book in the traditional way.
I have to admit to being a HUGE fan of the Cure. Yup. That's 80's quasi-gothy band, lead by Robert Smith. What can I say, I've always liked boys in makeup.

One of my favorite songs by the Cure was always Charlotte Sometimes. I didn't have a clue that the song title was taken from a book, and that lines from the book were used in the song, as well as in the song The Empty World (She talked about the armies, that marched ins...more
Oct 19, 2008 kate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to think.
Recommended to kate by: Charlotte Sometimes- singer
It astonished me when I'd finished reading that this novel was created and meant for children. I've known children, and perhaps was myself, capable of understanding this novel and appreciating it, but I would venture that it is hardly the norm.

The identity crisis and the challenges involved in this story line are intricate and carefully laid out. I never thought of it as a time-travel book. It's not about time travel at all. It's about knowing who you are, wherever you are, in whatever circumst...more

Penelope Farmer is an author who captured "the mysterious emotions of children, their uneasy relationships, and the sometimes terrifying awareness of their encompassing worlds." -- Ruth Hill Viguers, Horn Book.

"Charlotte Sometimes" is an intensely thoughtful, emotional story about Charlotte Makepeace, a young teenager attending boarding school in about 1950 in the English countryside. When she falls asleep in her new dormitory, in a strange bed with wheels, she awakens to find herself i...more
Andrew Barger
I’ve recently read “Charlotte Sometimes” if for no other reason than to compare The Cure lyrics of their classic song Charlotte Sometimes to parts of the children’s fantasy. This is what I learned and it’s very interesting. ***Spoiler Alter***

All the faces, All the voices blur
Change to one face, Change to one voice

First sentence: By bedtime all the faces, the voices, had blurred for Charlotte to one face, one voice.

Prepare yourself for bed

Second sentence: She prepared herself for bed . . . .

Charlotte Sometimes is a wistful, fascinating blend of boarding school story and time travel fantasy. When Charlotte wakes up from her first night at boarding school, she finds that she has been magically transported back into the past, where everyone thinks she's a girl called Clare, attending the same school forty years earlier. When she wakes up the next morning, she's back in her own time, but she soon realizes that she slips back and forth every night, spending every other day as Clare.

This is an old favorite, one which I read as a child and rediscovered as an adult. It's a time travel fantasy, in which two girls at the same boarding school, one in 1918 and one in the present day (which was 1960 something---it's an old book) switch places. From a science fictional perspective, the book is flawed, not answering questions about how or why the transfer takes place. That simply isn't the point. However, by exploring the outcomes of their switching places---the bizarre relationship...more
I read about Charlotte Sometimes on the Chicklit message boards, and it sounded interesting; and then finding out that Robert Smith had liked it enough to write a song about it cinched the deal and I ordered myself a copy. The book tells the story of Charlotte, a new girl at a boarding school, who wakes up one morning to find a huge tree outside her bedroom window where the day before there had been none. And more disconcertingly, the girl in the bed next to her is calling her "Clare." Charlotte...more
Cyndi Garcia
When I first heard the song which shares the title of this book by the 80's pop band, The Cure, I was enthralled. Astonishment ensued when I found out that the band had written the song about a story.
I had to order the book as it is no longer in print and paid a pretty penny for something I figured would be nothing more than a keepsake for my love of The Cure. From the first page it became impossible to put the book down.
I read it three times since I bought it and every time I try to figure...more
Ostensibly a time-travel book, this little gem is actually more about figuring out who one really is. Lots of interesting historical detail thrown in besides. And it's got the perennial hook of boarding school to add to the allure. The characters rang true- especially the confusion and dismay and mustering of wits. Recommended.

I read this over the summer and somehow missed reviewing it. It was a perfect book to read by the pool.
Leí este libro por la canción de The Cure
Charlotte comienza el internado, y elige dormir en una camita con ruedas.
Clare de 1918, en plena Primera Guerra Mundial, está en el internado esperando ser asiganda a una casa de acogida y también duerme en una cama con ruedas. Todas las noches viajan en el tiempo mientras duermen.
Prefiero no contar más para no dar spoilers. Ni siquiera te guies por el video que no dice mucho, aunque la letra de la canción si toma algunas fras...more
I first came across this book as an adult and being a fan of school stories I thought it would be similar to others of the genre. So it was a surprise - a pleasant one - to find out it was about much more than the usual fun on the playing fields and in the dorm kind of thing. The time-travel is central to the plot, of course, but it's the characters of the main players that are the important thing, IMO.

There's a certain eeriness to this book, not surprising given its subject matter,but for thos...more
I read this book as child (probably 8 - 10 years old) and that was *coughalmostfortyyearscough* ago and all I remembered was that I totally loved it!
Then recently, by a twist of fate, I discovered it was available on Audible and I couldn't resist having a nostalgic re-read.
It's definitely interesting t0 revisit as an adult, it's a very English book (which I didn't remember) and its actually quite a sad too, set at the end of the war, there's soldiers dying, children losing their parents and chil...more
I wish I had read this book when I was a child but actually, strangely I did not know of its existence until I saw a 40th Anniversary edition in Waterstones and was drawn by its interesting title and the fact that I am often drawn to books written by an author with the first name of Penelope; this is because it is my middle name and I am aware that it is unusual and for this reason I like it.

It is a fascinating and original story of a girl named Charlotte who, on starting a new boarding school...more
It's been a busy month, and I haven't gotten to do all the reading I would've liked. This weekend, I took a break from the grown-up world with a trip to Nacogdoches and this sweet young adult book from 1969, Charlotte Sometimes.

Charlotte is the kind of resourceful, realistic heroine I would've loved as a twelve-year-old--heck, I loved her as a 30-year-old. Being on the beach,under a giant umbrella, knocking back whiskey and Coke made it even easier to get into the story of two little girls who...more
It is amazing how many people have read, Charlotte Sometimes, because of The Cure, myself included. The opening line of this book, is also the opening line of The Cure song of the same name, Charlotte Sometimes:

"All the faces, all the voices blur. Change to one face, change to one voice....." Anyone who knows the song will find it impossible to read that line without singing it in their head, or even out loud!

I first read this book back the the 1980's when The Cure released the song "Charlotte...more
LH Johnson

Charlotte, new student at a boarding school, has one of those days we've all had when we're new somewhere. Exhausted, nervy, confused, she goes to bed and wakes up in the same school forty years earlier. Turns out she's somehow swapped places with a schoolgirl of that time - Clare - and somehow they keep shifting places ...

I'm rubbish at writing synopses so I apologise for the fact that the above sounds distinctly bald. Charlotte Sometimes really isn't. It reminded me of Adele Geras' Egerton Hal...more
Since I'd seen it labeled as such, I thought this book was just an ordinary boarding school story. But it soon became evident to me that I had never read the full description (or a full review) of Charlotte Sometimes... and what a surprise I got! Charlotte's confusion and shock in Chapter 2 mirrored my own; I found it was rather delicious to not know that plot twist was coming, so I could wonder along with Charlotte. I wouldn't say not knowing was integral to my enjoyment of the story, but it wa...more

Sometimes I am Charlotte Sometimes
And I know my own face and hair
Sometimes I don’t know who I am
And how I managed to get here
When I am here I think I know
That I am the same old me
That I was yesterday
The same me in the mirror I see
But then again I end up there
In another place and time
And I can’t make out
If the fingers and hair are mine
As I go in and out of my dreams and not-dreams
I am two people and sometimes just one
Is it me who changes or those around?
After Charlotte's first night at her new boarding school, she wakes up in the same room, but with different roommates. Moreover, these different roommates don't call her "Charlotte," but "Clare." Charlotte is totally confused and can't figure out what has happened. After a while, she realizes she's travelled back in time to World War I, and that the real Clare has travelled forward to Charlotte's time. Once they realize this, Charlotte and Clare devise a way to correspond with each other across...more
Andrew Fairweather
I was so impressed by Penelope Farmer's 'Charlotte Sometimes'. It is a story of a girl growing older, of adjusting to life away from home for the first time, or a new life amongst unfamiliars.

What I appreciated most about the book were the implications it carried with it in regards to what it *is* to grow older. I think it's something of an impulse to think of childhood as something merely left behind—or that, we enter adulthood at the expense of a broad vivacity which gives our formative years...more
Feeling nostalgic, I decided to reread a book that I loved around the age of 10 to see if I would enjoy it as much as an adult. I really did love it and believe me, I normally do not like to read "young adult" fiction anymore. Even at my old age, it is fun to imagine myself as young Charlotte, suddenly swept into another time. For you youth librarians, you should definitely suggest to your female readers, from about age 10 - 14!
Still works! I read this as a child and it's one of the books I remember very well. I did wonder if it would really work for my son - partly because I wondered whether it had dated and partly because all the children in the story are girls (and it's partly set in a girls' boarding school). He enjoyed it and kept asking for more. The story switches between the present day (at the time of writing - published in 1969, seems to be set in either 1957 or 1963), and the final months of the first world...more
I picked this book up because I have an affinity for both boarding school books and time-travel books. This looked like the best of both worlds to me. A fun middle grade book that introduces to the reader to two different past time periods–the 1970s of Charlotte’s present and the nineteen-teens of Clare’s present.

This book is the third in a series, but it is completely possible to read it as a standalone. No mention is made of the events in the first book, and the second book is actually about w...more
Ranjila Mudiliar
oh! i loved reading this book when i was a young teenager.....dunno where i've placed it though but the main plot is that this character keeps time travelling due to this old creeky bed that she sleeps in.I i think the whole plot is cleverly created to keep you hooked until the last page.
Seward Park Branch Library, NYPL
I was so impressed by Penelope Farmer's 'Charlotte Sometimes'. It is a story of a girl growing older, of adjusting to life away from home for the first time, or a new life amongst unfamiliars.

What I appreciated most about the book were the implications it carried with it in regards to what it *is* to grow older. I think it's something of an impulse to think of childhood as something merely left behind—or that, we enter adulthood at the expense of a broad vivacity which gives our formative years...more
Sep 15, 2008 Cera rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of time travel
Recommended to Cera by: Jo Walton, I think
This sensitive exploration of identity and children's understanding of history is one of my favourite children's books, although I admit I didn't read it until I was an adult.
Monica Edinger
I thought I'd read this years ago, but now I realize I never did. I enjoyed it and am certain I would have as a child. The melancholy sensibility throughout suited it.
Time travel and boarding school - how can you beat it?

My friend Ellen tells me that the Cure has a song called Charlotte Sometimes based on this book. How very odd!
Johanna Story
I read this book in school. I didn't like this book. Hope you follow my reviews on other books.
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British children's author Penelope Farmer was born in 1939, in Westerham, Kent, the daughter of Hugh Robert MacDonald and Penelope Boothby Farmer. She published her first book, The China People, in 1960, going on to use one of the longer stories originally intended for that collection as the basis of her first novel, The Summer Birds, which received a Carnegie commendation.
More about Penelope Farmer...
The Summer Birds (Aviary Hall, #1) Emma in Winter A Castle of Bone Penelope Daedalus and Icarus

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“Of course I'm not going to look through the keyhole. That's something only servants do. I'm going to hide in the bay window.” 3 likes
“Charlotte was used to all the marks of war: the shabbiness of things, bad food, shop queues, posters about the war effort, people with worried faces, people dressed in black. She was used to seeing the wounded men from the hospital with their bright blue uniforms and bright red ties, the colours, she thought, if not the clothes of Arthur's soldiers. Such things did not disturb her, and the war seemed quite remote. But this disturbed her, the grotesque kind of circus that came now. It did not seem remote at all, nor did it fit with her vague ideas of war gained from those books of Arthur's she had read, with their flags and glory and brave drummer boys. How could you dare to become a soldier, knowing that you might end like this? There were men like clowns with white heads, white arms, white legs, men with crutches, slings, and bloodied bandages, and all so distressingly like men you would expect to see walking down the street, two armed, two legged, in hats instead of bandages and suits of black not battered khaki. Some came on stretchers borne by whole and ordinary men, some hobbled and leaned on whole ordinary arms. Most had mud dried thick across their clothes, and all came from the dark station's mouth with the spewings of trains behind, the clankings, thumpings, grindings, the sounds like great devils taking in breaths and blowing them out again.” 2 likes
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