'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 20 September 2010

Review: Chasing Charlie Duskin

Title: Chasing Charlie Duskin

Author: Cath Crowley

Publisher: Pan Macmillan, $16.95 RRP

Publication Date: April 2005

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780330421607

For ages: Young adult

Type: Novel

About: Charlie Duskin is lost. She lives her life without friends or attention from her father, and is dealing with the deaths of her mother and grandmother.

Heading to the country for the summer holidays to spend time with her grandfather, Charlie is once again forced to face the fact that no one likes her. The other teenagers in town – Rose, Luke and Dave – ignore her most of the time and, when they do notice her, it’s to call her names.

Unaware of the fact that Rose, too, is lost, Charlie becomes the target of Rose’s plan to escape this dead-end country town. And in planning her getaway, Rose hurts everyone in her path to get the one thing she wants in life.

Given that Chasing Charlie Duskin was shortlisted for the CBCA’s prestigious Book of the Year, it’s unsurprising that this is an insightful, well-written novel.

There was just one thing that I didn’t like about this story: the scattered use of terms that made me wonder at times if was supposed to be set in an American town. Although it is an Australian story, it doesn’t feel that way; perhaps that was intentional to make the book appeal to a wider audience, but to me it took away from the honesty and reality of the plot. It’s not a case of having to be ‘true-blue Aussie’ though, just a need to feel the sincerity of the characters’ dialogues through their choice of words.

Aside from that, Chasing Charlie Duskin is a classic story of being true to yourself and chasing not just dreams, but also reality.

This book is available online

Teaching notes