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Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home

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Thirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They're going to be travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall. By train, bus and taxi, they are determined to get there in the end; and they're hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbour there. But is that the only reason they are going?

It's a journey that's full of challenges and surprises. Martin adores his brother Charlie but he's not like ordinary kids. He's one in a million. He was born far too early, and ought to have died. And cheeky, irrepressible, utterly unique Charlie is always keeping Martin on his toes - especially on this crazy trip they are now on. Martin is doing his best to be a good big brother, but it's hard when there's something so huge coming once they get to Cornwall ...

An unforgettable novel that is by turns funny and heartbreaking.

272 pages, Paperback

Published January 11, 2018

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About the author

Mark Lowery

25 books18 followers
Mark Lowery is the author of seven books for children and young adults, including "Charlie and Me - 421 Miles From Home" and the Roman Garstang Adventures.

Both of his first two books - "Socks Are Not Enough" and "Pants Are Everything" - were shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. "Socks Are Not Enough" was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, and also won the Leeds Book of The Year Award and the Calderdale Book of the Year Award. "The Jam Doughnut That Ruined My Life" was shortlisted for the Children's Book Award.

He is a primary school teacher and lives near Cambridge with his young family.



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5 stars
330 (51%)
4 stars
218 (34%)
3 stars
72 (11%)
2 stars
17 (2%)
1 star
3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 127 reviews
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,285 reviews299 followers
May 9, 2018
Translation widget on The blog!!!
O carte pe care o citești printre hohote de râs, lacrimi și sperieturi. O acțiune nu foarte complicata, dar captivanta. Plus doua personaje absolut deosebite!
Recenzia mea completa o găsiți aici:
Profile Image for Sophie Crane.
3,923 reviews122 followers
August 6, 2019
Lowery has impressed me in the past, filling his family-centred stories with humour (Socks are Not Enough) and pathos, in stories that will pique the interest of primary-aged readers.

This novel features a wonderful pairing - brothers Martin and Charlie, a young teen and his younger brother who have, apparently, run away from home to travel more than 400 miles to Cornwall, where they are hoping to see the dolphin they saw on a family holiday.

Their determination is puzzling - just what significance does the dolphin hold for them? But they are resourceful in their lack of funds, Martin clearly adores his little brother, and Charlie has enough personality for a whole family of characters.

Their backstory is revealed through the course of the book, as they approach their destination, though many obstacles attempt to stall them - their parents, for example. Martin's poems also give us an idea of their family and history. The final reveal is quite a punch in the gut and incredibly sad - some readers may be quite upset (warning!).

A warm, chatty style of narration, Martin feels very real, loving and worried, and readers aged 10-14 will take to the story and their adventure from the start.
Profile Image for Eda.
212 reviews732 followers
June 10, 2018

Ben mi çabuk ağlıyorum yoksa bu kitaplar mı çok etkileyici bilmiyorum. Ama yüzde yüz eminim bu kitabın sonunda ağlamamak imkansız. Hiç bir şekilde beklemediğiniz bir şey oluyor ve bir anda kendinizi gözyaşları içersinde buluyorsunuz. Şu an bunu yazarken bile ağlıyorum.

Martin adlı bir oğlumuz var 13 yaşında. 10 yaşındaki kardeşi Charlie ile evden kaçıyorlar ve bir yıl önce tatil yaptıkları kasabaya doğru yola çıkıyorlar. Biz bu yolculuğu okuyoruz. Aynı zamanda da yaptıkları tatili okuyoruz.

Charlie hayatımda gördüğüm en eğlenceli ve zeki karakterlerdendi. Sürekli Martin'e verdiği yanıtların altını çizdim. Aynı zamanda özgürlük aşkı da çok etkileyiciydi. Martin de bir insanın isteyebileceği en iyi ağabeydi. Gerçekten ikisi de harika ve kalbime dokunan karakterlerdi. Benim için eğlenceli ve duygu dolu bir yolculuk oldu bu kitabı okumak. Beni hem güldürdü hem de ağlattı ki benim için bu kitabın iyi olduğunun kanıtıdır. Bu yüzden küçük büyük herkese gönülden öneriyorum. Bence herkesin Charlie ile tanışması gerekiyor.
Profile Image for Vir.
925 reviews130 followers
February 18, 2018
Un 4,5 en realidad
¡Qué libro más bonito y tierno! Lo empecé a leer sin saber nada de él y me ha sorprendido muchísimo. Es una novela preciosa que habla sobre todo del amor familiar, concretamente entre dos hermanos, y aunque es una lectura muy amena y cortita logra emocionar muchísimo. No puedo contar mucho de la trama porque si no os desvelo todo, pero vamos que por mi parte está totalmente recomendada, si os gustan las historias sencillas y bonitas con moraleja incluida.
Profile Image for fem.
270 reviews19 followers
June 8, 2018
En ik maar denken dat ik een luchtig boek aan het lezen ben voor bij het lekkere weer. Wat een grap, dit heeft me gebroken. Verdomme wat een mooi boek.

Ik voel me een beetje snotterig worden, misschien word ik verkouden.
Profile Image for Julianne Negri.
Author 4 books27 followers
October 4, 2018
I would give this book a charillion stars if I could. It is a beautiful book with the most delightfully endearing characters, wonderful pace, structure and storytelling that gets under your skin. Heartbreaking, funny, life affirming and brilliant. Everything you could want from a book.
Profile Image for Buchdoktor.
1,877 reviews133 followers
March 10, 2018
Der 13-Jährige Marty ist gemeinsam mit seinem jüngeren Bruder von Zuhause abgehauen, um an die Küste von Cornwall zu fahren, wo die ganze Familie im letzten Urlaub einen Delphin gesehen hat. Mit Charlie unterwegs zu sein, war schon immer eine Nervenprobe, weil seine Aufmerksamkeit gerade mal 2 Sekunden dauert. Charlie war eine Frühgeburt und überlebte, schwer behindert, gegen jede Wahrscheinlichkeit. Die Angst um ihn hat nie aufgehört; Notfall-Set und Asthma-Spray für ihn sind immer dabei. Marty beschreibt sich selbst als so groß, dass er für einen Erwachsenen gehalten werden könnte. Marty bemüht sich um Unauffälligkeit, damit kein Erwachsener auf sie aufmerksam wird. Doch das tut er auf so schräge Art, dass man als Leser sein Scheitern heraufziehen sieht. Wer Charlie dabei hat, kann sein Ziel nicht unbemerkt erreichen. Unerwartete Hilfe kommt von Henrietta, die verblüffende Fähigkeiten und Kontakte hat und Marty beherzt unter ihre Fittiche nimmt. Rückblenden in glückliche Zeiten des letzten Urlaubs treiben die Handlung voran.

Das absolut bewegende Ende muss unbedingt geheim bleiben. Nur so viel: Das Leben im Gedicht als springenden Delfin zu beschreiben klingt genial – und geniale Dichter wie Marty brauchen so kluge Lehrer wie Mr Hendrix.
Profile Image for Esther.
415 reviews24 followers
September 4, 2018
4.5 sterren. Dit boek is zo verschrikkelijk mooi. Met moeite kon ik dit boek wegleggen, wauw.
Profile Image for David RS.
146 reviews10 followers
May 4, 2023
La forma en que me destruyo este libro, no tiene nombre. 😭
50 reviews1 follower
March 12, 2019
The first thing I did after reading this book was hug my brother... Well actually, that's a lie, the very first thing I did was lock myself in the bathroom and cry for a good twenty minutes

This has to be one of the most magnificent books I've ever read. Not just "kid's books" but books full stop.

One of the most telling signs is that I predicted the ending about 100 pages out and it still evoked that much emotion from me! The storytelling from Mark Lowery is splendid, everything feels deliberate.

I thought the ending was getting a bit silly but then it ties together and all makes sense. It touches upon mental health briefly but fantastically, which is a cause close to my heart.

All in all, please, please read this book.

Just do it alone and bring the tissues
Profile Image for Linda Lipko.
1,904 reviews43 followers
October 21, 2019
A very heart rendering story of a brother who decides to try to replicate a family vacation one year ago. Leaving the house, without telling his parents, he navigates to Cornwall, England via a series of train stops.

Wanting to arrive at his destination to show his little brother the dolphin that he was so mesmerized with on their vacation, he vows to get there on time to once again show Charlie the dolphin one again.

This is a wonderful book filled with marvelous characters. I laughed and cried. I read the book in one sitting!

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ezgi Tülü.
415 reviews1,100 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
June 14, 2018
Kitabı beğenmediğimden değil de, ben bugün tatile gittikten sonra annemleri ziyarete gelecek olan kuzenime hediye etmek istediğimden yarım bırakıyorum. Bu akşama kadar bitirmemin imkanı yok çünkü ve onun daha çok hoşuna gidecektir.
1,557 reviews25 followers
March 5, 2018
I thought this would make a change to the books I had been reading and it did. This is the story of Martin and his younger brother Charlie who decide to go on a journey like no other. I love how the book is set out with Martin's poems and the lined pages like it really is a book. There are some funny parts to the story but it also deals with some more personal issues which have been dealt with in a sympathetic way. This is a short story and I managed to read it within an hour. I will be looking for more of this author's books.
Profile Image for Caitlin.
119 reviews17 followers
April 22, 2021
This ticked so many boxes for me. Martin and his brother go on an adventure to see some dolphins they've seen on their last family vacation before things started to be weird. On their journey, they are separated, meet new people and escape the police several times. With help of a new friend, they finally reach their destination and Martin finally finds the words to tell his story.

I love books built like this, I love it when they feature sea animals, I love it when there's a deeper layer, something that won't reveal itself until you're so far in that it tears you apart.
12 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2018
Oh wow! What a good book. I really wasn’t expecting it to end like it did...no spoilers! The characters were perfect, and it was fast paced and interesting to read. I loved how it flipped back and forth between past and present, and the poetry. So many issues were covered in this book, but in a subtle and clever way.
Profile Image for Chandra Sundeep.
196 reviews8 followers
February 1, 2022
Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home by Mark Lowery, is a sad yet hopeful story of brotherly love. This book is meant for early middle-graders, and despite being miles away from the targeted age group, I enjoyed this book to bits! This book deserves a charillion stars and nothing less!

Narrated by 13-year-old Martin Tompkins, this is a beautiful coming-of-age story. Martin is going on a trip to Cornwall, a place 421 miles from home, along with his younger brother Charlie, aged 10. Sneaking out in the early hours while their parents are still asleep, Martin and Charlie embark on the journey of a lifetime, hoping to recreate their previous family vacation and to spot a dolphin.

But this is no ordinary journey! Filled with high humour, deep sadness, and anxious frustrating moments, this book held my attention and piqued my curiosity.
During the trains, bus, and car rides, we get to appreciate Charlie’s uniqueness and Marty’s caring nature. Armed with a backpack that has a few eatables and an omni-special-leftover-from-Christmas biscuit tin, which Martin promises to open on reaching St. Bernard’s, the brothers leave home. Despite Martin’s detailed planning, right from noting details of train times and stations, things go awry! En route, Martin encounters a scary-looking girl, Hen, whose unexpected kindness helps Marty accomplish his mission.

When I saw the cover picture with its beautiful illustration, I hoped to read a story of a carefree beach holiday. Boy! I wasn’t expecting it to be such an emotional roller-coaster.
Lowery’s writing is remarkable.

The boys’ character development and their affectionate bonding is realistic. Charlie, born prematurely, is not quite like the children his age. He suffers from various health problems, but his tongue-in-cheek humour makes him such an adorable kid! Marty, the older, caring brother, warmed the cockles of my heart. He displays a sense of maturity beyond his years. He anticipates Charlie’s actions and is ever prepared to deal with all emergencies and Charlie’s bursting enthusiasm.

Hen, a late entrant into the story, plays an important role and her character is equally well-developed. I could visualize her, with her make-up, attitude, et al. Her unlikely friendship with Martin is touching and reaffirming.

Though the parents are mostly missing from the story, their portrayal justifies the plot.

I loved the poems preceding every chapter. Written by Marty, they are warm and funny, and also depict his emotional turmoil.

Along the journey, apart from the lighter moments, there is a blanketing sense of dread and unease building up to a tear-jerking resolution.

This book would be a wonderful resource to discuss with children the topics of empathy, familial love, and kindness. Also, the large print, short chapters and pacing are perfectly designed for the intended audience.
This is the first book that I have read by Mark Lowery, but I am definitely going to check out his other stories.

Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home is heart-warming and exciting. The perfect balance of laughter, sadness, tension, and unexpected revelations make this a wonderful book.
Tip–Keep a box of tissue handy while going on this trip with Marty and Charlie.

Profile Image for Ricardo Parra M..
62 reviews4 followers
November 18, 2022
Qué libro tan hermoso y tierno!

Lloro brillitos y lloré en realidad con ese final, no tenía idea de que terminaría de esa forma, pero me ha sorprendido y me siento muy conforme.

Es una lectura cortita que se lee super rápido. La trama es sencilla: Martin de 13 años se aventura con su hermano Charlie de 6 años en un viaje en tren con destino al lugar de sus últimas vacaciones porque la pasaron increíble, van con solo una mochila, un tarro de galletas y el cuaderno donde Martin escribe poemas (amé que se incluyeran los poemas de Martin). Así, conoceremos el viaje de estos hermanos y qué sucedió en esas vacaciones.

Esta historia refleja el amor de los hermanos, la importancia de la familia y el valor de la amistad. Demasiado hermoso.
Profile Image for Vivian Polania.
95 reviews4 followers
September 2, 2023
Cómo hermana mayor entiendo el sentimiento de darlo todo por tus hermanos! Es absolutamente precioso y te deja con un nudo en la garganta tenaz. Desde el inicio podía imaginarme el final, digamos que no de la manera en que sucedió pero si llegue a la misma conclusión 🥺

Empezamos fuerte septiembre eh 🤧
Profile Image for Katie Greenwood.
304 reviews9 followers
April 2, 2018
First of all a big thank-you to the wonderful people over at Piccadilly Press for contacting me about this little gem!

I've always been a believer that there's no such thing as being too old for a book. It's something I find myself constantly reiterating both at work and online. Just because you're older than the target market for a book doesn't mean you shouldn't read it, nor does it somehow suggest you aren't smart. I'm a twenty-one year old Literature Student and bookseller. Am I still going to read Children's books? Of course! Half the time they're even more hard hitting and raw than some adult novels. They don't hide behind flowery language and complex prose. They get right to the heart of it.

Which is exactly what Charlie and Me* does. The novel starts out with Marty taking his younger brother Charlie on a holiday....without his parents knowing. Marty is such a lovely character and fantastic big brother. His entire plan hinges around taking Charlie to see the Dolphin he adores down at St.Bernards. But nothing is as simple. Along the way things go wrong and they meet such interesting people.

I love particularly how Charlie was described. We are told he was both a premature and quite sickly baby that now at aged ten has what Marty calls 'an upside down brain'. His brain simply isn't wired the same as everyone elses which means he often has ideas that no-one else does. He's a marvel. It reminded me a lot of how Blu from Abi Elphinstone's Sky Song (review here) was treated as a character which I also loved!

I would recommend this for slightly older children simply because there are some very sad topics discussed that younger children may find distressing. I certainly teared up a bit.

However, this is such a beautiful book, one I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Ligia.
22 reviews
July 17, 2021
It’s an entertaining read up to the plot twist that punches you in the stomach and leaves you gasping for air. For a parent, it is a tough book to read. For a kid, likewise (my 10 YO browsed the book and read only the final chapters - I had a hard time getting her to sleep because of how sad she was)
429 reviews9 followers
March 27, 2018
I didn't expect to love this book quite so much. But I also hated it becausw it made me ugly cry. It is so beautifully and tenderly written. It is funny, poignant, sweet, sad and full of childhood innocence. I adored Martin and Charlie and their journey.
Profile Image for Sherry.
5 reviews2 followers
June 13, 2019
Simplement preciós. És curt, no es fa gens pesat llegir-lo i el gir final és increïble, tot i que millor tenir mocadors a prop.
Profile Image for Tania_lwt .
18 reviews2 followers
January 30, 2022
Me he quedado sin palabras. No me esperaba ese final para nada.
Profile Image for Beb ✨.
162 reviews50 followers
July 14, 2018
Da titolo e trama mi aspettavo una storia per ragazzi: due fratelli in fuga verso le spiagge della Cornovaglia per rivedere il delfino che salta in mezzo all'oceano, proprio come hanno fatto durante la loro vacanza insieme ai genitori.Due bambini che prendono un treno e percorrono miglia e miglia verso la loro destinazione, scappando da controllori e poliziotti per riuscire ad arrivare in tempo, prima che l'alta marea scenda e il delfino se ne vada per la sua strada.
Quello che ho trovato invece è stato un romanzo profondo e struggente, che mi ha sorpreso, emozionato e commosso tanto che alla fine non riuscivo a trattenere le lacrime. Una storia di crescita, di forza, di amore per un fratello fragile da proteggere a tutti i costi. Martin ha tredici anni e ama scrivere poesie. Tramite esse espone le sue emozioni, le sue paure e insicurezze, oltre all'amore per la sua famiglia e per il fratellino Charlie, un bambino speciale perché nato prematuro e quindi bisognoso di cure e sostegno.

Leggi di più: http://lalibreriadibeb.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for Alda.
14 reviews
December 22, 2022
Vaig plorar com una nena petita. Ja m’havien explicat el final, però, tot i així vaig plorar i no podia parar de plorar. Suposo que va ser perquè em sentia identificada amb en Martin perquè la meva àvia es va morir ara farà un any, tot i que jo ho he portat molt millor que ell. Tot i així, trobo que és un gran aprenentatge i que tothom s’hauria de llegir aquest llibre. Hi va haver una frase en especial que em va emocionar i és la que diu en Charlie sobre si ja pot anar a nedar amb el dofí, li pregunta a en Martin. També em va impactar molt quan la mare d’en Charlie i d’en Martin diu que el pot no és de galetes, que és el seu fill, em vaig estar molta estona mirant aquella frase.

El primer club de lectura de la meva vida ha estat sobre aquest llibre, i ho agraeixo molt. El recomanaria a tothom.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Asteroidul B 612.
8 reviews3 followers
May 22, 2021
Este o carte scurtă, alertă și surprinzătoare - când am început-o ne așteptam la o lectură ușurică de aventură, însă ultima parte a poveștii dezvăluie și teme mai întunecate. Ne-a făcut să râdem, să plângem și să dăm paginile cu sufletul la gură - așa că primește de la noi patru asteroizi! (Dacă vreți să aflați de ce 4 și nu 5, vă invităm să urmăriți minirecenzia noastră pe YouTube: https://youtu.be/Msqq7w0bgNs )

Profile Image for Graine Milner.
335 reviews7 followers
December 25, 2018
A poignant road-trip story with a twist. I had my suspicions about the biscuit tin early on (having read The Keeper Of Lost Things over summer) but Charlie seemed so alive that I sent the suspicions packing and the final reveal did still shock me. Lovely characters, great story which I think will appeal to fans of Lisa Thompson's The Light Jar.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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