Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Charlotte Sometimes” as Want to Read:
Charlotte Sometimes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Charlotte Sometimes (Aviary Hall #3)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,315 Ratings  ·  235 Reviews
It is Charlotte's first night at boarding school. But when she wakes up, the girl in the next bed is not the person who was sleeping there the evening before. And the new building outside her window seems to have metamorphosed into a huge, dark cedar tree! Somehow, Charlotte has slipped back forty years.
Published January 4th 1972 by Puffin (first published 1969)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Charlotte Sometimes, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Héctor Alvarado Sale case of Tammy ; I read it because of the Cure's song and ending up loving it eventhough it is supposed to be a children's book.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Lisa Vegan
Nov 09, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Oct 19, 2008 kate rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Feb 17, 2015 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have loved this book to bits when I was ten years old. It has so many good things in it - time travel, boarding school, some nice historical facts , possibly a few ghosts........all good fun! Reading it now though it is quite clearly a children's book (not YA) and as such is a little bland and lacking in real action. So for me this was an excellent children's book, well written and entertaining although of course also old fashioned.
Andrew Barger
Mar 06, 2012 Andrew Barger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 . . . .

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.

Aug 09, 2007 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cyndi Garcia
Aug 27, 2011 Cyndi Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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!
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
May 01, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 31, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really far out experience to read this; it combines time travel with childhood imagination to create an unforgettable story of life in the first world war.
Nov 06, 2011 Melody rated it really liked it
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.
How did I miss this book until now? How did I miss Penelope Farmer? Published in 1969, this book should have been in my hands 46 years ago! How fast can I get my hands on the other two books in this trilogy and anything else written by Farmer? "Charlotte Sometimes" is fascinating, beautifully written, touching, and profound. My dream would be to discuss it with the Greater NY Chapter of the Betsy-Tacy Society, if I ever make it to another meeting. Now, I must try to write Ms. Farmer a fan letter ...more
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
Jul 29, 2009 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 18, 2014 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 31, 2011 Julai rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2014 Gillian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Hilary Woolf
Feb 07, 2016 Hilary Woolf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charlotte Makepeace starts at boarding school, I am guessing sometime in the 1950s. To add to her troubles of fitting in at a new school, she finds that she is changing places on alternate days with a girl who was alive during the first world war. Charlotte is confused and starts to wonder who she really is.

This is a beautifully written book, very thoughtful and philosophical. I am very sorry not to have read it as a child, but hugely enjoyed reading it aloud to my daughter and discussing the st
I was recommended this book by my dad when I was a little kid. Yes, I also did hear about it since I'm a huge fan of The Cures c: This was a great read. It's not like normal children's literature. I loved it. It was so different from what everyone used to read in elementary which is probably why I liked it so much. Really want to read it again!
Mar 27, 2016 Merry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I think this must be one of the most beautiful 'children's book you should read as an adult' I've ever read (or in fact listened to, exquisitely spoken by Hannah Gordon). I can't believe I've only just discovered it; wistful, poignant, deep and written like a piece of art. Utterly captivating.
Lady Blue
Aug 07, 2015 Lady Blue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: time-travel
I'm pretty sure this is the first time travel book I read and I loved it. I'm getting this from the library to re-read and make sure. So glad I found the title and found it on here.
Feb 05, 2012 Melee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
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
Aug 27, 2012 Geetanjali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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?
Jul 02, 2007 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun, kiddies, fantasy, reread
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
Mar 15, 2016 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another middle school time-travel favorite!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Autumn Term (The Marlows, #1)
  • A Traveller In Time
  • Time at the Top
  • Uncle
  • The Swish of the Curtain
  • Marianne Dreams (The Magic Drawing Pencil, #1)
  • The Cuckoo Clock
  • Carbonel: The King of Cats (Carbonel, #1)
  • Grinny
  • The Sterkarm Handshake (Sterkarm, #1)
  • The Little Book Room
  • The School for Cats
  • The House of Arden (Fabian Time Fantasies, #1)
  • The Midnight Folk
  • Mistress Masham's Repose
  • The Magic Summer
  • The Wind on the Moon
  • The Family from One End Street: And Some of Their Adventures
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...

Other Books in the Series

Aviary Hall (3 books)
  • The Summer Birds (Aviary Hall, #1)
  • Emma in Winter

Share This Book

“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.” 4 likes
“And, she thought uncomfortably, what would happen if people did not recognize you? Would you know who you were yourself? If tomorrow they started to call her Vanessa or Janet or Elizabeth, would she know how to be, how to feel like, Charlotte? Were you some particular person only because people recognized you as that?” 2 likes
More quotes…