Review: Charlotte by Stuart Keane

Book Description:

A tale of imaginary friendship gone horrifically wrong.

Amy Brunswick is a shy kid. Ignored, bullied, socially inept. On a fateful Saturday afternoon, her parents discover that Amy has made a new friend called Charlotte. However, much to their chagrin, Charlotte is imaginary. Ignoring what is right for Amy – to minimise the risk of looking like bad parents – they force their daughter to visit a psychologist, concerned for their reputation. Soon after, strange incidents begin to occur…

What happened to Ted, the boy who made Amy’s life a living hell? Why is Amy so suddenly aggressive? And what are those strange noises that plague the family home?

As the parents start to confront the problem, they realise that Charlotte is here to stay. And no one will stop her from being Amy’s friend.


I first became a Stuart Keane fan when I read The Customer is Always... a few weeks ago and wanted to give some of his other books a try. Charlotte stood out for me because, well, who doesn’t love a story about a creepy imaginary friend?

Amy is a 9-year-old girl who is bullied in school and neglected at home. To cope, she invents an imaginary friend named Charlotte. Charlotte begins to change Amy and in attempt to keep their child from being a “retard,” Amy’s parents send her off to see a shrink. They buy her a puppy and even try giving her more attention to make Charlotte go away. Charlotte, however, isn’t going anywhere.

As the story progresses, Amy’s behavior becomes more and more bizarre. She becomes more confident both at home and at school. She stands up to Ted, her bully, and it doesn’t take long for her parents to become alarmed by her behavior.

Charlotte is an intense story that grabs you on the first page and doesn’t let go until the very end. Coming in at a little over 100 pages, it is a quick read that will have you identifying with Amy and hating Charlotte. The author never makes it clear as to what Charlotte is or where she came from. Is she a ghost or simply a figment of a child’s imagination? That’s for you to decide.

This story is disturbing on a few different levels and incredibly gory in places. Not for the faint of heart, Charlotte is an original tale that is scary, sad and definitely worth your time.


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