I received a free ebook from Hidden Gems in exchange for an honest review.
Charli Wonkers lives in a rundown trailer park situated on a beautiful Texas beach. The Horseshoe is also home to Charli’s best friend Dotty, Uncle Guncle, and many other eccentric characters. Charli’s mother died and her father disappeared, so the residents of the Horseshoe have become her odd little family. Things are tough for Charli, but she’s getting by. Charli is fiercely loyal and as stubborn as they come.
Recently, strange things have started happening to Charli: she’s been waking up on the beach with no idea of how she got there, her fingers have begun to glow yellow at really inconvenient times, and Charli is seeing ghosts everywhere she goes. Charli begins to understand why this is happening when she meets Goat, a mysterious, magical stranger. Charli soon discovers that she, too, has certain special abilities, though she has no idea how to use them.
Soon after the Horseshoe is destroyed by an angry ghost, Charli is transported to a world unlike any other. The Other Side of the Graveyard is home to witches, ghosts, skeletons, giants, and other fantastical creatures. When Charli learns Dotty’s life is in danger, she must learn to control her magic in order to battle the evil forces and save her best friend before it’s too late.
⭐️⭐️💫 I wanted to give this more stars because it is an original idea, but I just couldn’t do it. While the premise was interesting, the execution was choppy. Nothing about this story feels consistent from the dialogue to the action. The characters are intriguing, but there wind up being so many of them that it’s hard to get to know them well. Charli is also learning a ton of new things on nearly every page, which means that the reader also has new words and phrases and terms constantly thrown at them. It’s very hard to keep up with at times.
Charli’s character also goes back and forth between sounding like a poverty-stricken teenager who uses terms such as “purdy” and “christmassy” and “chitlins,” to being a well-articulated young woman. I don’t mean that she matures throughout the book, she literally bounces back and forth within chapters. Many times she came across as if an adult male was trying to write as a teenage girl and the effect was…not great. Some of her thoughts, feelings, and actions didn’t feel natural.
I was hoping the reviews comparing it to Harry Potter would be accurate (who isn’t trying to fill that HP-sized hole in their book life?). This is nowhere near the same league as Harry Potter and I cannot understand why people are making that comparison in the first place.
With all of that being said, don’t let me send you running and screaming away from this book. I liked the whimsical nature of the story, but it wasn’t enough to save it for me. It was definitely creative and I think many people would enjoy it. I’m just not one of those people. On to the next one!