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Charlotte Sometimes (The New York Review Children's Collection) Hardcover – February 20, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On her first morning at boarding school, a girl wakes up to strange new surroundings in this haunting fantasy. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An intriguing fantasy."—The Horn Book

"...a book of quite exceptional distinction...the author has built a haunting, convincing story which comes close to being a masterpiece of its kind...not easily forgotten."—Christian Science Monitor

A "haunting fantisy." —Publishers Weekly

"Farmer writes with style. She is vivid in her depiction of place: on almost every page, scattered with colorful figures of speech, we are drawn into the school and the surroundings of the school through sights and sounds and smells and textures...above all we are moved by the depth and poignancy of the relationship between Charlotte and Emily."—Eleanor Cameron

"This year's most haunting fantasy."—The Sunday Times

"Farmer is always gifted in her grasp of possibilities that bring us up short with surprise and delight and satisfaction."—Eleanor Cameron
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Series: The New York Review Children's Collection
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: NYR Children's Collection (February 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590172213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590172216
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Alison on January 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this in the hardback edition when I was a teenager. I loved it so much that when I saw immediately bought it when I saw it on sale as a paperback. What a disappointment! The last chapter was altered so the ending was different. I even got out the original hardcover from the library to check that I wasn't remembering incorrectly - but sadly it was true.
While the new version is very good, it just isn't the same as the original.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Kali on June 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
**************INCLUDES SPOILERS***************************

I actually read this book when I was a young teen and I have to admit I was only reading it because there was nothing else to read in the house and the telly was on the blink. I absolutely loved it from beginning to end. This is a time-travel story with a bit of a twist.

Charlotte Makepeace is a new girl at an old boarding school. On her first night she goes to sleep in her bed and in the morning she wakes up as Clare Moby, a schoolgirl from over forty years ago. Of course Charlotte is confused, even more so when people don't realise that she is not Clare, not even Clare's younger sister Emily.

Somehow she struggles through her first day as Clare but to add to her confusion she finds herself back in her own time the following day and no one has missed her! Charlotte soon realises that Clare is taking her place in her time and she is taking Clare's. The two girls muddle through by communicating through Clare's diary, leaving each other notes and messages in order for them to survive in their swap-over worlds.

However it's not long before Clare's younger sister Emily realises that something is wrong and Charlotte is forced to tell her the truth. With Emily as an ally, Charlotte's time in the past is a little easier but there is a dark cloud on the horizon. Clare and Emily are going into lodgings outside the school and the children have worked out that the time travelling that they are experiencing has something to do with the bed they sleep in and the tree outside the window which exists only in Clare's time.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gillian Buchanan on August 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a superbly written children's book from the late 1960s and republished in the 1990s. There is plenty of mystery and you never quite work out why Charlotte is mysteriously transposed in time back to the first world war until the last few pages. I think it's one for slightly older children, perhaps around 10-13, as there are many elements in it around the history of the 1914-18 war which the imaginative teacher could include in class lessons.

It's a great read and I found it difficult to put down, coming back to it fresh after last reading it in my own childhood.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on May 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book has remained one of my favorite YA novels which I discovered as an adult, after the explosion of YA literature in the 60's (too late for my childhood!)
Now any Time Travel book involves careful detailing by the author in advance, to establish the Laws of time travel and avoid anachronisms. How is the protagonist transported back and then forward again in time? (In this case the vehicle is a bed in a girls' dorm.) Must she go back far enough in time to preceed her own birth or can she witness herself at a younger age? Is she allowed to interact with her own ancestors or try to change national or even family history? Can she actually change places with a real person from the Past or merely fit in as an unknown entity in another age? What happens to the person from the Past who is suddenly placed in a modern settting? Won't people in the Past and the Present realize that they are dealing with imposters? Do they look and sound that much alike?
Heavy problems to resolve, but Penelope Farmer handles them all with grace and skill, leaving hardly any loose threads. Her heroine, Charlotte, attends a boarding school where she is pleased but puzzled to be taken under the wing of a kindly older girl--whose mother had asked her to be a special friend to Charlotte, if she ever met her. All throughout the story we keep wondering which of the girls she meets in the Past will turn out to be this sympathetic mother.
Charlotte is trapped on an endless temporal seesaw, never knowing in which Time (40 years' difference) she will awaken. She and her alter-ego, Clare, are doomed to never meet face to face, yet they each learn much about the other. I admired their ingenuity in keeping a mutual journal and hiding notes in the hollowed bedpost.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Natalie on December 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book years ago, but it still stays in the forefront of my mind. Recently its been stronger than ever thanks to a friend of mine who loves The Cure. Charlotte goes back and forth through time. living her life, and someone elses. She's only Charlotte sometimes, as the title dictates. The story is eerie, but fascinating, Charlotte makes friend with her 'sister" who is not her sister, but the sister of the girl whose life she sometimes lives. She has to keep this fact a secret, and the plot gets deeper and deeper. The end of the book shocked me with the emotion I felt, especially the revelations that comes at the end. It's sad, bittersweet and lovely all at once, this is the kind of book I would keep forever.
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