Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Charlotte Sometimes (Aviary Hall, #3)” as Want to Read:
Charlotte Sometimes (Aviary Hall, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Charlotte Sometimes

(Aviary Hall #3)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,636 ratings  ·  357 reviews
A time-travel story that is both a poignant exploration of human identity and an absorbing tale of suspense.

It's natural to feel a little out of place when you're the new girl, but when Charlotte Makepeace wakes up after her first night at boarding school, she's baffled: everyone thinks she's a girl called Clare Mobley, and even more shockingly, it seems she has traveled f
Hardcover, 190 pages
Published February 20th 2007 by New York Review Children's Collection (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
Sacha I read it as a child and just read it again now, a few decades later. It's sweet. …moreI read it as a child and just read it again now, a few decades later. It's sweet. (less)
Stephen Sanders Not sure if you're still interested in this response to a question from four years ago, but, no, you don't need to read Books 1 and 2 first. I found C…moreNot sure if you're still interested in this response to a question from four years ago, but, no, you don't need to read Books 1 and 2 first. I found Charlotte Sometimes through the New York Review of Books children's imprint and had no idea it was the third in a trilogy until I researched the author. There is very little indication in the text that this is part of a series and no references to Charlotte's prior adventures. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,636 ratings  ·  357 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Charlotte Sometimes (Aviary Hall, #3)
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  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy time travel, school stories, philosophical ideas
Recommended to Hilary by: Lisa Vegan
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
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I never heard of Penelope Farmer prior to reading Charlotte Sometimes, but now I want to track down all her books and read them. Charlotte Sometimes is her most famous novel and even has a song based on it by The Cure. Charlotte Makepeace is sent to an English boarding school in 1958. Every other day she wakes up to find that it is 1918 and everyone thinks she is Clare Mobley – even Clare’s sister Emily. When Charlotte (as Clare) is sent to board with a family in town, she becomes trapped in 191 ...more
A wonderful and unusual time travel story. Another one that I missed as a child and was glad to find as an adult.
Andrew Barger
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
lucky little cat
A quiet time-travel book. Thirteen-year-old Charlotte goes to bed in the oldest bed in her new boarding school in 1958,

Not the same story, but I do love Eleanor Bron

and wakes up in the same bed in the school infirmary of 1918 with everyone calling her "Clare."

Farmer handles the history and the time-shift beautifully, and Charlotte is a thoughtful, likable heroine who's given a lot to ponder here. Because Farmer wrote the novel when WWI was still part of living memory, she comfortably
I enjoyed every single page. A story which plays the time-slip genre with great maturity. A story of a young girl finding her identity by losing it. The relationship between Charlotte and Emily was so intense. I'm really moved by the sense of change and loss. ...more
Shannon Rochester
This is another book on the 1001 Kids Books list...It is becoming harder and harder to actually FIND these books that are on the list and soon, I might have to give up for awhile unless I want to actually start purchasing these books. Also, as I make my way through the last of the books I have found from the list that are available, I tend to like them less and less. That was not the case with this book...I thought the story line was very interesting and I loved learning about each little girl a ...more
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!
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Fantasy Lovers / Readers Who Enjoy Time Travel Stories
School-story, time-slip novel, and third entry in Penelope Farmer's "Aviary Hall" series - a trilogy of loosely connected children's fantasies, following the fortunes of sisters Charlotte and Emma Makepeace as they learn to fly ( The Summer Birds ); travel, in Emma's case, back to the very beginning of life on earth ( Emma in Winter ); and, in Charlotte's, switch places with a fellow student from forty years before (here) - Charlotte Sometimes is a brilliant exploration of identity, and a se ...more
Claudia G-D
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
Charlotte has just started at boarding school. She goes to bed and wakes up and sees a different girl in the bed next to her. She realises she has travelled back 40 years and is in the place of Clare who has swapped places and travelled into Charlotte’s time. The story is told through Charlotte’s perspective as she lives Clare’s life in the First World War with Clare’s younger sister Emily. The two girls manage together in moving to lodgings, coping with the swap of Charlotte and Clare and worki ...more
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came to this book somewhat late, having learnt of it only through my adoration of The Cure (Robert Smith took inspiration from the book for three of his songs - 'Charlotte Sometimes', 'Splintered in her Head' and 'The Empty World'). I now share at least one thing with Robert Smith (in addition to my teen penchant for eyeliner); we have both been haunted by this book for years.

Two young girls make an improbable connection across time and space without ever actually meeting; this was hard-hitti
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.

Cyndi Garcia
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
La Coccinelle
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've been itching to read this book for ages. I'm so glad I finally got to it, because it was quite good!

The time-travel theme has been done many times, of course, but I quite liked how it was done here. As far as I can tell, Charlotte and Clare physically travelled through time (as opposed to just their consciousnesses travelling); they must have looked very much alike for so few people to have noticed the difference. But the story is not so much about the time travel itself as it is about iden
Kathleen Dixon
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kathleen by: the Bookshop
I have the vague feeling that I've read this book in the past. It was published in 1969; I turned 8 that year. It's highly likely that I found this book in the library that same year, or the next, or the next. I was already a voracious reader and loved time travel, ghost stories, magic, historical adventure. So this would have been a clear choice with its transport of Charlotte in 1969 back into the body of Clare in 1918.

The excellent thing about this book is the way Charlotte is led to thoughts
4 stars.

This was a 3 star read for the most part but I liked how it all rapped up in the end. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those books that sticks with me and is remembered over the years and thought of.
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
Brooklyn Tayla
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Charlotte Sometimes is a children's novel which was published in 1969, by the English author Penelope Farmer. It was recommended to me by one of my work mates, and when I started reading it, I knew I was in for a unique reading experience.

It's initially set in a boarding school, we have various students and objects described to us in detail, it's fantastic, I felt like I was there, everything was as new to me as it was to Charlotte; who finds when she wakes up, things are different again!

What I
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Smitha Murthy
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves Children's Literature
I have been utterly beguiled and charmed. No. Not by any human being but by this wonderful wonderful book. ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ is everything that I have come to love about Children’s Literature - funny, whimsical, imaginative, and deeply philosophical. Oh yes! There’s so much in 'Charlotte Sometimes' about the nature of self and identity - I almost had tears at the end.

At heart, this book is about time travel. Charlotte finds herself back in time during the First World War with Clare. Simplis
Mojo Shivers
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Growing up I became a huge fan of The Cure and “Charlotte Sometimes” was one my more favorite songs by them. And yet I had no idea it was based on a book. I just thought it was merely a song they had written about a girl who experienced some kind of vision about a faraway place and time. I thought it was like that episode from the 80’s Twilight Zone “A Message from Charity” where it wasn’t so much switching bodies as being able to see through another’s eyes.

But now, after having read the book, i
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was expecting this to be whimsical and sort of funny but it turned out to be extremely suspenseful, at times creepy, and very thoughtful! The bits about World War I and the mystery of where the two girls would end up were terrifying.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Marianne Dreams (The Magic Drawing Pencil, #1)
  • Tom's Midnight Garden
  • Bedknob and Broomstick
  • The Water Babies
  • A Traveller in Time
  • The Island of Adventure (Adventure, #1)
  • The Time of Green Magic
  • Aunt Sass: Christmas Stories
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Wayfarers, #4)
  • The Mandarins
  • The Guggenheim Mystery (London Eye Mystery, #2)
  • The Pushcart War
  • Diary of a Dancing Drama Queen (The Secret Ramblings of Harriet Hughes Book 1)
  • The Girl of the Sea of Cortez
  • Share Your Smile: Raina's Guide to Telling Your Own Story
  • Emma, Vol. 2
  • The Kingdom of Carbonel (Carbonel #2)
  • The Dumbest Idea Ever!
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Aviary Hall (3 books)
  • The Summer Birds (Aviary Hall, #1)
  • Emma in Winter (Aviary Hall, #2)

News & Interviews

The idea for The Gilded Ones came to author Namina Forna in a dream. The recurring image was one of a young girl in armor walking up a...
93 likes · 9 comments
“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.” 10 likes
“Where you some particular person because people recognized you as that?” 5 likes
More quotes…