In a snug New England fishing village, Charlie St. Cloud tends the lawns and monuments of an ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. After surviving the car accident that claimed his brother's life, Charlie is graced with an extraordinary gift: He can see, talk to, and even play catch with Sam's spirit. Into this magical world comes Tess Carroll, a captivating woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that propels her into Charlie's life. Their beautiful and uncommon connection leads to a race against time and a choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go — and the discovery that miracles can happen if we simply open our hearts.
I wasn't a huge fan of the movie (Zac Efron just seemed way too young) but my friends recommended the book. I bought it a few months ago, but kind of regretted it after seeing the movie a second time (my little sister LOVES Zac Efron). But finally, I read it, and the results were surprisingly good. Charlie and his brother Sam are extremely close, and for me, that connection made the book ten times better than the movie. Tess's story was deep and uplifting and was obviously the main focus of the book, but Sam was just so darn cute I couldn't help but cry when he died. And then the ending--God, I have cried way too much this past weekend. Well, I loved Charlie in the book, mostly because he seemed older (thank heavens) and because he seemed so much sweeter. ALso, in the movie it seemed like they played up the supernatural theme too much; I liked how the book made it more of an atmosphere around the characters. One of the other aspects of the book I liked was the epilogue. The ending was absolutely perfect, and even though Tess and Charlie's story goes on, the way the last paragraph was still sad. While I liked the ending aspect of things left untold, one of my complaints was that the ending was cut short. It seemed like too much was wrapped up in the epilogue, a little too much to be really satisfying. Plus, in my opinion too much of the book was spent in speculation of whether Tess was a spirit or truly there. I was confused, yet the author sort of played it off like we should've already gotten it; while that was cleared up later, half of the middle of the book was shrouded in so much doubt and mystery I didn't pay as close attention to what was actually happening. In general, this book was good, if lacking in the clarity department.
3.9 stars (not quite the full 4) and a recommendation to ghost/supernatural fans.