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Dyed Souls

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  36 reviews
‘My mom leans back, smiles, and strokes my cheek. “That’s all right, Charlie. Never you mind. You just got soft living with your grandparents, is all. You forgot that most people don’t have it so easy—that you have to be tough to make it in this world.”’

Set in the 1980’s, Dyed Souls follows the life of 13-year-old Charlie; an intelligent, troubled teen, taken from his gran
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 28th 2018 by Matador
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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  284 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Kristen Debler
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dyed Souls was nothing like I expected. With that being said, the book was amazing!! Charlie was a character that I feel in love with, especially because he needed that love. The entire book he was trying to fit in and find himself, yet he was always the odd boy it seemed. But, this could also be because of his lack of self-confidence about himself, especially his hands.
Charlie’s mother was never the hero in this story, and from the beginning we can tell that she is in a lot of pain, and she te
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Charlie, a young man staying in a residential treatment centre for troubled youths and kids with dysfunctional families. He's sent back early after having a weekend pass, by his mother, who quite frankly it's very easy to dislike, intensely.

It's told in first person narrative, through the eyes of Charlie, and we sit next to him and watch his struggles finding his way through this system, which demands he bows to certain behavioural codes. My heart aches for Charlie - he's a
William Russell
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was highly impressed with this novel and was completely hooked within the first few pages. It is a complex narrative of a young teenager, Charlie, who is dealing with demons in his head due to his upbringing and life experiences which unfold throughout the novel. The author does an incredible job of weaving in many unexpected twists into the book to keep the reader fully engaged but also to create a lot of depth in the characters and it all comes together nicely in a multidimensional tale. I h ...more
Jo - Cup of Toast
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written with a respectful awareness of the subject matter and establishing well rounded and realistic characters, Dyed Souls was not quite what I was expecting it to be. A coming of age novel it is perhaps targeted at a young adult audience. Despite being rather over that age bracket myself though I thoroughly enjoyed this book too. I connected with the main character, Charlie, in a sympathetic manner. His emotions were raw and powerful. I felt an almost motherly instinct towards him. I especial ...more
Lel Budge
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rachels-rr
This is a marvellously written story of a young man called Charlie.

He had to go to the Hawthorne Residential Treatment Centre for troubled young people. Charlie is very intelligent and reads constantly, this makes him different amongst his peers.

His drug addicted mother, tends to treat him badly as though she feels he is to blame somehow for her situation….but he’s very close to his grandparents..

This story tells of Charlie’s life at Hawthorne, there are many incidents, even Charlie fighting wit
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don’t know why but for some reason this narrative reminds me of many sci-fi stories I have read, yet it has no inkling of science fiction. I suppose it is the characters in this and such stories have similar arcs. But at its core it is a coming of age story.
I will be up front with you, this is going to be a difficult read, but not to any poor writing. It is very well written, well told and well paced, if not some very minor errors in just a few places. The difficulty however, comes from the c
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“You have to be tough to make it in this world.”

Author Gary Santorella is a writer of substance, an important fresh novelist who deserves wide attention. He does not offer biographical information, but while it appears that DYED SOULS is his only novel, his other book – LEAN CULTURE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY - suggests his career. It seems obvious that with an increased exposure to readers he will gain the stature he deserves!

Gary opens his impressive novel with Charlie’s mother driving him
Cheryl M-M
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Now and again you get a gem of a book that comes along and takes you by surprise. With the kind of story that is so poignant you can hear the sound of it breaking walls as it penetrates the consciousness of readers.

This is the story of a teenage boy, who has spent his entire life being bandied about and abused by a mother who forgets him in a moments notice, as she seeks self-gratification in an attempt to forget her own misery.

Charlie feels the need to protect his mother on some level, despite
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charlie is a good boy who struggles to remain so after the bad things that have happened to him. He hasn’t had the easiest life, and sadly, his mom is at the head of his torment. The one woman who is supposed to love him more than anything in the world.
This was a very hard book to read, in spite of the masterful writing but because as a mother it’s hard for me to read such things, yet Charlie persevered even after all the heartbreak, loss and disappointment he endures throughout the novel.
Kristen Debler
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dyed Souls was nothing like I expected. With that being said, the book was amazing!! Charlie was a character that I feel in love with, especially because he needed that love. The entire book he was trying to fit in and find himself, yet he was always the odd boy it seemed. But, this could also be because of his lack of self-confidence about himself, especially his hands.

Charlie’s mother was never the hero in this story, and from the beginning we can tell that she is in a lot of pain, and she te
ChillwithabookAWARD With
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award.

"It shows you a different view of life and causes you to look more kindly at people who don’t follow your own way of doing things, of what you think is right. I recommend this book."

"Being an avid reader it will take a long time to find a book that is up to the standard of Dyed Souls."

Pauline Barclay
Founder of Chill with a Book Awards
Linda Ratcliff
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Dyed Souls” by Gary Santorella was not an easy book to read, because it takes us into a dark but real world most of us know very little about. 13-year-old Charlie has been taken from his drug-addicted mother and is now doing time at Hawthorne Residential Treatment Village, a reform school where they administer high-dosage injections of thorazine to keep the teens under control. Charlie is a bookworm, and spends as much time as possible with his nose in a book to escape his reality. We are privy ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderfully crafted story of a young man named Charlie. He had to go to a halfway house for troubled youth called, Hawthorne.
Charlie is a brilliant young man. He has read many of the world’s great books. He is not treated well by his mom, but he is very close to his grandfather. His grandfather tells him all kinds of ideas and facts, while sitting by the fire.
At Hawthorne, Charlie is kind of a loner. He would rather feed the horses or read a book than interact with the other student
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the moment my stomach lurched with Charlie’s and I felt every swerve of the car as he is driven to the residential treatment centre I knew this author had written one of those books that stays with you for a lifetime. I was not wrong. I loved this hard-hitting, gritty sometimes disturbing novel. All the kids have troubled backgrounds, and it does not shy away from the consequences of these. For those who look for trigger warnings this may not be the book for you but the depth of all the cha ...more
Kristy Morgan
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story follows the life of a 13-year old boy named Charlie, a smart, but troubled teen that was taken from his grandparents by his mother who suffers from drug addiction. It's a coming of age story and even though it's set in the 80's, a lot of it's just as relevant today as it ever was. Charlie is a very likeable character and this book really makes you root for him as he goes through life's ups and downs. I felt especially bad for him since he has a mother that was suffering from an addict ...more
Nicola Parkinson
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a book!

Poor Charlie! Pulled from his loving grandparents, living in a home for troubled teens and a Mother…. well, I have a few choice names for her  !!

This story has me happy, sad, smiling, sad, a couple of tears and at moments curing a character or two.

It just goes to show that not everyone’s life is perfect, in fact some have the very crappy end of the stick and that things can be put on for show….. you never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

I highly recommend Dyed Souls, in
Shawna Briseno
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a tough one. Good story but difficult to read about the hardships kids go through simply because of the poor choices made by their parents. Not only Charlie, whose drug addicted mother ripped him from the stability of his grandparents' home, but also the also kids at the residential facility where he now finds himself. His struggles are many, both physically and emotionally. Hard to get through but worth it.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is difficult growing up anywhere, anytime. In Santorella’s minutely observed and dynamically written novel, it is nearly impossible for Charles. The expectations and behaviours in 1980s California were difficult to cope with for anyone who was different, and we discover that in certain ways, even among a challenging group of young people, Charles is very different as the novel begins. A tough but sometimes touching account of life in an ill assorted group as adolescence, abandonment and attit ...more
Evan Odson
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dyed Souls is a coming of age story where the young hero is unfortunately too special for his own good. Charlie Lyle is an anomaly among his peers – he’s incredibly intelligent. Too intelligent. He’s out of place, different and weird. The rest of the kids at Hawthorne Residential Treatment Village are focused on sexual attraction, the inconsequential and the vulgar - normal teen stuff – but Charlie is focused on something more important, at least for him (he still can’t help but gawk at the girl ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Twists and turns abound in Gary Santorella's book Dyed Souls. Yes, it is a coming of age story and yes it is indeed "gritty." It's packed with heartache and triumph along with all the other parts and pieces of life you learn along the way.
I thought this book would be a quick read, and I suppose someone who's more disciplined with their reading time would still have made it through the text quickly, but I could not. Dyed Souls pulled at my heartstrings and stole my attention for a few days longe
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Dyed Souls" by Gary Santorella is a captivating novel. The author has given us a story, that although fiction, manages to break our hearts and think about how harsh life can actually be.
Charlie, the thirteen year old focus of this story, allows us into his thoughts. The difficult existence that he has been forced to live is saddening and hard for a reader to swallow. As a father, I wanted nothing more than to reach into the pages and just hug the boy. From a druggie mother, to a reform schoo
Caroline Venables
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a hard read, but completely absorbing. It is a brilliant book that it is brutal in its honesty about the world.

Charlie lives in a residential centre due to the fact that his drug addicted mother can’t or won’t cope with him. Written in the first person, Charlie describes his life there, living with the other residents, who have their own demons. His love for his grandparents and the effect that his grandfather has had upon his life.

Charlie is well read thanks to his father and has a book
Kim Castro
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A coming-of-age story that will tug at your heartstrings!

In 1981, thirteen-year-old Charlie Lyle has a hard-knock life- his mother is addicted to both drugs and cigarettes, he stuck at a reform halfway house for troubled teens without any friends, and his grandparents aren't allowed to see him. Reading Darwin, Socrates, and Plato is the only solace Charlie has to relieve the tedium at Hawthorne Residential Treatment Village, until Margo, The only person there who isn’t cruel, falls in love with
Stephen R.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dyed Souls is a coming of age story packed with troubles, pain, love, betrayal, pain, trust, and triumph. Gary Santorella does an amazing job. The characters, though few, are engaging and wel-developed. The story revolves around Charlie, who is a troubled 13-year-old. His drug-addicted mother takes him away from his grandmother.

Charlie is a well-read teenager. We are privy to him pondering about Darwin's philosophies, meaning of life, and God's existence. Charlie falls in love with Margo as he
Jessica Belmont
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love when you go into a book without really knowing what you’re getting into and it delieveres an incredible story! That’s what happened with Dyed Souls. I read the Blurb, but the cover made me interested. I wasn’t sure if this would be my style of novel, but it was!

I relate to Charlie so well. He lacks self-confidence which often leaves him the odd one out. He is trying to find himself and fit in. I loved him, he was such a well written character. I just wanted to get inside the book and tell
George Shuman
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Dyed Souls” a novel by author Gary Santorella, is a touching story about main character thirteen-year-old Charlie, and his tough childhood. He is taken from his grandparents’ care and ends up in some type of group therapy home called a “treatment village.”
This very thought-provoking story is not easy to read, due to the story itself. It is heart wrenching and saddening in places. “Dyed Souls” is certainly dark and difficult in spots. It’s one of those books that is both emotional and entrappin
EruditeAF Literary Symposium
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking. This book is emotional and deep and not for the faint of heart. Although it's a turn from my normal light-hearted novels, I was pulled into the gloomy and often dark world of Charlie and I couldn't escape from its magnetism of brokenness and resilience.

I think I may have connected with the book on such a relatable level because the setting was so familiar to me. At one time I worked at a treatment facility just like the one in the book, with kids just like those in the book, with
Ella James
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella is a classic in philosophical literature. A very touching 5 star, must-read story

Poor Charles! My motherly instincts wanted to wrap my arms around him and take care of him forever… and that is great writing! From the first page until the last Santorella invites us deep into the psyche of a troubled teenage boy. I wondered all the way through this book if it was the author’s own story because it reads much like an autobiographical novel, especially the last chapter.
Daniel Simpson
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story is told in the first person by Charles/Charlie --he prefers the dignity of Charles, the name of his hero Charles Darwin, though people tend to address him with the somewhat belittling Charlie. Charles is Aspergerish, very bright (IQ of 157, he reveals) but has trouble figuring out people, and figuring out himself. We are dropped right down in his current world, the residential treatment center in southern California without knowing exactly why he's there. Though he has trouble forming ...more
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