Charlie St. Cloud is a promising 15-year-old who makes a horrible mistake that changes his life forever. He and his little brother, Sam, “borrow” their neighbor’s car and drive into Boston for a Red Sox game. On the way home he’s temporarily distracted and (because of the fault of a truck driver) involved in a horrible car accident on a bridge. He survives, tasting death for just a few minutes, but his brother and their dog do not.
In those moments when Charlie and Sam are in between life and death, they make a promise to never leave each other. The book goes on: Charlie grows up and he’s now the caretaker for the cemetery where Sam is buried. We learn that every night Sam returns to the cemetery and Charlie gets his little brother back for a few hours until the next night. This is a huge blessing to both boys, but it ties Charlie down, not allowing him to live the life he survived to live. Instead his life is governed by the setting sun and the cemetery grounds.
Enter Tess, an independent young woman getting set to sail around the world alone. Charlie’s always known who she was, but when he meets her at the cemetery one night, he falls in love. Tess is worried about love, something she’s not sure she fully believes in, especially not with the men in her small town. Charlie is worried about anything that might come between him and Sam.
I picked this book up out of curiosity, knowing it had been made into a movie but not really knowing any more about it. I was pleasantly surprised by this sweet romance, and also the story of the bond between the two brothers. Plus, I love baseball and the Red Sox.
Rated: Moderate. As far as language, there are about two dozen uses of mild expletives. There’s a moderately sensualized sexual encounter, nothing you’d find in a bodice ripper (I don’t think) but mildly descriptive regarding the act and the parts.