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

Dear Charlie

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  331 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.

At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed.

Yet as Sam des
Paperback, 287 pages
Published October 20th 2016 by Harlequin Mira Ink HarperCollins
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 Dear Charlie, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dear Charlie

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  331 ratings  ·  85 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
School shootings have been the plague of our world for far too long, and unlike diseases and natural disasters, they always leave us with someone to blame. We’ve all grieved with the families of those who were lost, but few of us stop to think about the parents and siblings of shooters. Dear Charlie offers a new perspective, a painful look into the devastation and shame of one such family.

Sam’s brother Charlie killed himself suddenly and he took fourteen other people along with him. In the afte
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story was so hard to get through. It's not amazing. It isn't enjoyable or entertaining. It tells the heartbreaking story of what happens to the family. And it does so in a very real way. Sam isn't perfect, or sweet, or disturbed, he is normal. His family is normal. The media is despicable as usual. The society reacts as one would expect for better or worse. It's a sad book of misplaced judgement, but also of living on.
Liz Barnsley
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Blimey Dear Charlie was a heck of an emotional read. Seriously. Chocolate required – I give you fair warning.

The utter horror that encompasses a school shooting has been fictionalised a fair bit, Dear Charlie though I found gave it a particular resonance. Focusing as it did not on the shooters, or the mother of, or the victims families but on the sibling left behind who is supposed to what? Hate his brother now? Call him a monster? Sam is facing that having lost so much and through his writings
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dear Charlie is the heart-wrenching story of Sam Macmillan and his parents as they try to continue their lives in the wake of a tragedy committed by Sam's brother Charlie.

How did Sam's loving brother Charlie commit such a devastating act? Why did Charlie take the lives of so many innocent people at Pembrook Academy? What drove Charlie to do this and then take his own life? These are all questions that plague Sam like a disease. Sam is left to deal with the consequences of his brother's final ac
The Book Review Café
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
All my reviews can be found at

I decided to read this book after seeing the book advertised on Twitter and I’m so glad I did. As you can imagine a book that deals with a difficult and emotive subject isn’t going to be a light read by any means. The author deals with the subject with sensitivity and doesn’t use the plot to add shock value. Sam should be enjoying the best years of his life, but instead the sixteen-year-old is trying to deal with the fact his older broth
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: guest-reviews

Dear Charlie is such a clever novel. In the aftermath of an awful tragedy we get to look at the world in a new light, from the perspective of those left behind. Sam’s brother is murderer and he is also dead. Charlie killed fourteen people in his school and then himself and Sam and his family are left trying to make sense of how and why. Gomes’ idea to look at things from this perspective is fascinating and Sam is a great character who goes through almost every emotion imaginable.

Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars.

*Full review originally posted on my blog, Bookshelves and Biros*

Sam’s brother Charlie walked into his school and shot fourteen people before killing himself. Set in 90’s British suburbia, Sam is struggling to reconcile the brother he knew with the person who committed the atrocity. This is not a story concerned with ‘why?’ or ‘how?’, instead, the story focuses on the aftermath of the shooting and the impact of the event on the people Charlie left behind. I really liked the decision t
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

In Dear Charlie, sixteen-year-old Sam is trying to deal with the fact his older brother Charlie was the perpetrator of a mass school shooting, leaving fourteen people dead before killing himself. This story follows Sam’s path to attempting to understand his brother’s action and forgiving him.

This is a very emotional and for the most part a very well-told story. Sam is the type of k
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
Note: I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinion.

This book. I don’t even know where to begin with THIS BOOK!! I don’t know why I do this to myself. I always choose books which I know will make me blubber like a baby and feel all the feels and I go and read it anyway. I torture myself… in a good way. If you are looking for a hard hitting book that hits all of the general stereotypes about a school shooting on the head and
Zoe Hall
Oct 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars
So I was definitely not expecting to finish this book in one day. I’d previously stated in a review this morning that the other book I finished last night would be my final read of 2017 - turns out, it’s this one!

This book tells the story of what happens to a family when a tragedy strikes. School children and teachers are shot resulting in the death of 15 people. Your brother and son is the culprit. How would you cope?

A heartfelt story surrounding the fall out after such a tragedy. It’s not so
Alfred Nobile
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A crime book? But not the investigation of a crime but the aftermath and devastation it leaves behind
When Sam's brother Charlie kills 14 people and eventually himself, the blame shifts from the crime itself as his family search for it within themselves. What could they have done. or seen. or known that would have prevented the tragic events that unfolded. A good read worthy of 4 stars. Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARC which I have chosen to review.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
All reviews can be found on my blog, Don't Bend the Spine

A book that has been on my Netgalley shelf for a considerable amount of time is Dear Charlie by N.D Gomes. Fun fact, this was a book I wished for on a complete whim, and I was genuinely not expecting to have my wish granted. Dear Charlie follows the aftermath of a school shooting through the eyes of the shooter’s younger brother Sam, who is struggling with the question of what drove his caring older brother to commit an atrocious act. I we
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a lovely read!
This book gave me so much perspective in/about life. Although I failed to relate much to Charlie as a character, I eventually did get around to empathising with Sam and his family. The author has managed to open my eyes to the idea of not transferring my hate for the perpetrator of the crime towards their kin, particularly so when even they may have not known, and especially so when their grief is (in all likelihood) many fold.
The idea of the book is depressing, but the narra
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
School shootings are a sad phenomenon of our time and have been the subject of numerous YA novels in the past years. I’ve read two of those, Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock and Marieke Nijkamp’s This is Where It Ends . Both are gripping, emotional novels, each dealing with different points of view on the matter. Quick’s book is written from the point of view of the shooter, while Nijkamp’s novel shows us differing perspectives of teens involved in a school shooting. Dear Charlie t ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Dear Charlie from HarperCollins New Zealand to review. This is N.D. Gomes’ debut novel and is endorsed by Amnesty International UK.

Dear Charlie picks up after Sam’s brother, Charlie, took a gun to school one day and killed fourteen people and then himself. This follows Charlie and his family as they deal with the fallout of what he did while also grieving their brother and son.

I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve never even considered what the family of a shooter goes through
Helen Marquis
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Set in leafy suburbia in the UK, 'Dear Charlie" deals with the aftermath of a school shooting and the effect that it has on the perpetrator's family. Viewed through the eyes of Charlie's younger brother, Sam, this is a heartbreaking and deeply affecting tale of a family torn apart by the atrocity committed by one of their own.
Gomes gives the reader an insider's view of the aftermath of a morning of horror, and the conflict that the family feel - wanting to mourn their beloved son and brother, bu
Adele Broadbent
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sam Macmillan looked up to his older brother Charlie. Sam loves music and Charlie loved art and they had a close bond. But Sam can't figure out how his funny, caring, big brother could buy a black-market gun at 1am one morning, take it to school and shoot 14 people before turning the gun on himself.

Dear Charlie is a story about a family of the shooter, dealing with the fallout after the event. Constant media attention, abuse, hate mail, and bullying follow the family for months until they are n
E. Latimer
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Truly shattering.

I'll warn you this isn't a beach read, it anyways. This book will make you ask questions you never thought you'd ask. It will make you angry, it will make you sad. But best of all, it will make you think.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
There was something about this book, maybe the voice, or the audiobook, but it just didn't hold my interest. It should have.

It is a novel which shows the grieving of a young boy after the death and tragic actions of his brother. It should have been harrowing and heartbreaking, but instead, it was really boring. The romance held no interest, and I just didn't feel any connection to the additional characters at all.

I am sure I missed some aspects of this book when listening on the audiobook, but
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016

A full review is available on my blog!

This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book is due to be released on the 20th October 2016 by Harlequin Mira Ink - Harper Collins!

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I was mildly intrigued. If you read my blog often, you'll know that I have a weird fascination with killers, books that involve murder and death, and definitely taboo subjects, such as school shootings. I don't know why, they just fascinate me
Ida Graae
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book as a whole but had a few issues with it. First of all, i found it quite strange how so few where willing to view the situation from Sam's perspective. I completely understand how people would be hesitant to instantly take him in after what happened but I still found it strange how virtually no one would at least hear him out before judging him solely on his brothers actions. Second of, I was a bit disappointed on the character development. It was really well executed and seeme ...more
Silverina La Mees
I don't know what went wrong. I don't know if what made me not like the book, was the way it was written, or because I just couldn't believe how the protagonist from one sentence to the other could change. How it was like the protagonist was writing what he should believe.
I just felt like the protagonist was removed from what was happening because of the weird writing style. It almost felt like he was playacting. And now I am angry. And now I am sad. And now I can accept the therapist.
It really
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Ending too 'neat' for my liking.

Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, from-publisher
Full review posted on my blog, Blackplume

Dear Charlie is a powerful contemporary novel that deals with the aftermath of school shooting that is told from a different but very important perspective.

Continue reading here
Rebecca Mc
Not bad

I didn't love this and felt it didn't go deep enough but I did like it and I thought Sam was mostly a sympathetic character
Reuben Thomas
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I read the blurb, and saw the little “endorsed by Amnesty International” symbol on the back, I had an idea that this book was going to be good. It deals with an intense subject matter, and I thought it’d be difficult, but would also be right up my street; I didn’t expect it to be quite as powerful as it was. The book starts and ends with a letter from our protagonist, Sam, to his brother Charlie, and these two messages are so incredibly moving. I’ve always thought that the format of writing ...more
Fiona Wilson
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2016-reads
This story takes on the subject of a school shooting in a different way to other books of the same subject. This one focuses on the family of the perpetrator rather than the shooter himself. More importantly, it focuses on the changing family dynamics following the disaster which has befallen not only them, but the small town they live in.

There are two pivotal points for me which feature letters written to Charlie, the person responsible for the shootings, brother to Sam. One of these letters is
Shona Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom
Dear Charlie follows Sam as he tries to come to terms with not just the loss of his older brother, but the school shooting his brother committed before taking his own life. Because of his brothers actions his family are persecuted by the public who want/need someone to blame since Charlie isn't around, and because there are no obvious reasons as to why Charlie did what he did Sam's family is left to blame themselves and each other.

This is a sensitive subject and Gomes has tackled it with compas
Em The Reading Challenge Challenge
Dear Charlie follows Sam as he and his family try to move forward after his brother takes a gun to school, killing 15 people and then himself. Now, almost a year later, they are still receiving hate mail and their family is fractured in the wake of a tragedy that has no sympathy for a shooter's family.

This was an ambitious idea that was handled well but I feel like it could have been written a lot better. Sam doesn't have much of a personality and it's very unclear how he's feeling through most
Nicolescu Oana
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If I hadn't started reading it on a work day, would have finished it in one reading session.
This is the kind of book you cannot let go of, the kind of book that changes how you see these types of situations. It stays with you even after you finish it and I am so glad I found it. The only thing I regret is not reading it sooner. There are already so many reviews, so I choose not to speak of the characters or the plot itself, instead write about what this book meant to me personally.
From the begi
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Page count correction 2 190 Jan 05, 2018 03:22AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ghost Heart (The PSS Chronicles, #3)
  • A Hollow in the Hills
  • Broken Gates (The P.J. Stone Gates Trilogy #2)
  • Riot
  • A Cottage in the Country
  • The Vintage Cinema Club
  • Timeless (Immortal Love, #1)
  • Chloe's Rescue Mission
  • Hot Redemption
  • Country Affairs (Tippermere #2)
  • The Boy Problem: Notes and Observations of Tabitha Reddy
  • Thirty Sunsets
  • The Things I Should Have Told You
  • The Seers (Holders #2)
  • Skulk (Skulk, #1)
See similar books…
ND Gomes is originally from Scotland, but spent ten years living in America working as an educator in the public school districts.

She has an M.Ed. in Education and is working towards an MLitt. in Scottish Literature and Creative Writing.

She loves to read a variety of YA and adult fiction in all genres, and is always on the lookout for a new book recommendation. ND Gomes has an enthusiasm for boo
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »