The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud BOOK REVIEW By Terri Simpson

The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud by Ben Sherwood is a paranormal romance novel published in 2004. It is a heart-warming but not maudlin tale, exploring the bonds between the living and the dead and the limits we will exceed for love. A secret trip to a Red Sox game turns tragic when Charlie St Cloud, just 15 and not old enough to drive yet, crashes a car that he "borrowed" from his neighbour Mrs Pung. Charlie and his younger brother Sam die, but miraculously Charlie is resuscitated but Sam sadly is not. Thirteen years later Charlie is now 28 and working as a caretaker in the cemetery where Sam is buried. He is also spending every evening playing catch with the ghost of 12-year-old Sam who is reluctant to move on to a better place because of the game with his older brother. Charlie's world gets turned upside down by Tess Carroll, a sailor who has plans to be one of the first women to circumnavigate the world alone. They have the perfect date and click instantly but then devastating news comes that her boat is lost at sea, and Charlie, whose gift of seeing spirits has greatly improved, realizes that her fading apparition is the indication of his failing attempt to save her. Charlie must face the choice between love and having a game with his brother. Sherwood tugs at readers' heartstrings throughout the novel, and it is a definite tear-jerker. It shows us that we should focus on the people we love, and who love us, that are still alive and let go of the ones we have lost. My only criticism is that the person whose perspective the story is being told from continues to change throughout the story and it is at times difficult to follow. Overall, I would definitely recommend this to anyone.