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4.5 18
by Sharon Dogar

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The story of Hal's first love--and his sister Charley's last. Now in paperback, Sharon Dogar's lovely and amazing debut novel.

When Hal's family makes the heart-wrenching decision to leave Charley, their comatose daughter, behind in a hospital ward while they spend the summer on the west coast of England, Hal finds it harder than ever to shake his sister's


The story of Hal's first love--and his sister Charley's last. Now in paperback, Sharon Dogar's lovely and amazing debut novel.

When Hal's family makes the heart-wrenching decision to leave Charley, their comatose daughter, behind in a hospital ward while they spend the summer on the west coast of England, Hal finds it harder than ever to shake his sister's presence. What power is letting him share her memories? And will they reveal the deep, dark truth behind her tragic "accident"? Set at a beach where growing up goes wrong, WAVES is a coming-of-age story about first love and first loss; about a family drowning in sorrow, and the remarkable son who is struggling against the tide to save them.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Dogar will make more than a glancing impression on teens with this elaborately structured debut, encompassing grief, suspense, romance, and emotional bonds so intense they slip past the usual boundaries of consciousness. At the novel's center are the unknown events that left 15-year-old Charley washed up on a Cornwall beach, comatose. The following summer, her bereft family returns to the same seaside community, where younger brother Hal begins, inexplicably, to channel his hospitalized sister's memories, connecting her injury to the brother of the girl he loves. The fragmented narrative leaps chaotically among Charley's, Hal's, and their telepathically fused perspectives, and not every reader will buy the supernatural elements. But teens who don't balk at nonlinear narratives will sink into Dogar's lyrical, free-associative writing, as expressive about tender romantic moments (such as the sharing of breath, “sweet and close and tangling”) as it is about the burden of loss, “like being stuck in a half-life, like some nuclear dump, with millions of years to go before the poison burns itself away.” –Jennifer Mattson
Publishers Weekly
Gothic romance fans will eagerly dive into this eerie debut novel, which traces the ethereal connection between Hal, a British teen, and his comatose older sister, Charley. While 15-year-old Charley hovers between life and death in a hospital, her body-kept alive by machines-remains motionless, but her mind is active ("It's as though the Earth is holding me down, packed tight in gravity," she laments). Meanwhile, Hal seems able to read some of his sister's thoughts. His feeling that Charley is trying to communicate with him grows stronger once he returns to the family's vacation house, where Charley's nearly lifeless body washed up on the shore the previous summer. ("From somewhere far away, I think I can hear... her hospital breath, falling over me in waves," says he). At the same time that Hal feels a burning urgency to solve the mystery of his sister's accident, he finds himself attracted to freckle-faced Jackie, whose brother may hold the key to what happened to Charley in the sea. A series of flashbacks convey the perspectives of both Hal and Charley, as Dogar artistically parallels two budding romances. Hal's infatuation with Jackie neatly mirrors the relationship Charley had with Jackie's brother, Pete. Although foreshadowing weighs heavily on the story line and Charley's frequent bemoanings about being trapped inside her body sometimes veer towards melodrama, teens intrigued by supernatural events will likely not be bothered by the book's less than subtle aspects. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
Waves is a complex, psychological, ghostly story that was first published in England, with a quote by Philip Pullman on the cover: "A remarkable novel…suffused by an atmosphere both sensuous and sinister." The ghost of the story is not dead, but lying in a coma in a hospital bed. Her name is Charley, and she is Hal's sister. He is furious. He hates that his parents can't accept that Charley is so close to death—that they treat her as if she understands what they say and will wake up soon. But as the family prepares to leave Charley behind and return to their home on the coast where Charley nearly drowned the year before, Hal's mind connects with Charley's and he starts to receive her memories. She needs Hal to resolve the difficult love triangle that led to her accident the summer before. In a voice like the dead narrator in The Lovely Bones, Charley "looks" at her ruined life; using Hal's body, she tries to find resolution so she can move on into death. In living partially for Charley, Hal himself learns to grow up a bit and trust in love. The disaster of the story is a ruined love affair, a sexual experience destroyed by jealousy and fear. But while love seemed impossible for Charley, Hal, through Charley, finds the truth, and that truth frees him to embrace life in a way he never could before. A challenging story for more mature YAs.
VOYA - Cheryl French
Hal's older sister, Charley, has always been the life of the family-vibrant, athletic, outgoing. Hal has grown up a willing shadow to her light, tagging along whenever possible. Last summer, however, Charley left him behind. Now Charley lies in a hospital bed, not dead but not alive, and no one seems to know how she ended up there. What was she doing out in the water alone that night? Was she really alone? Hal thinks he remembers seeing the shadow of someone else on the beach, watching, but was someone really there? Told in the alternating voices of Charley and Hal and switching between past and present, this debut novel takes readers through the pain of love, loss, acceptance, and letting go. It is a story about growing up, family, friendship, and first love. In turns mysterious, supernatural, funny, and sad, its tone is atmospheric and haunting. The danger and the beauty of the sea penetrate the story from the title to the setting and the underlying emotions. The story gently laps against readers at first, like quiet waves hitting the shore, and then the riptide grabs on and it does not let go. Aside from a few exchanges between Hal and his parents, the voices of the characters, especially the teenagers, ring true. Readers will willingly suspend disbelief as Charley reaches into her brother's mind to make her story known. This book will find a ready audience with readers of Sarah Dessen, Jodi Picoult, and many others.
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
This exciting coming-of-age novel set by the English seaside is told through the voice of Hal, age fifteen, and his older sister Charlie. The previous summer, Hal discovered Charlie on the rocks of the beach in a coma. She remains in the hospital while the family returns this year to their summer home. In an atmosphere of beach parties, surfing, and hidden violence, Hal's new girlfriend includes him in the group. However, his comatose sister continues to occupy his thoughts. How can he find out what happened the night before he found her? Hal was aware of a dark shadow hovering over his sister on the beach that fateful night. Bits and pieces of information come to him as he gets to know the beach crowd and he learns that his sister had a serious boyfriend, Pete. Pete's former girlfriend Am is somehow connected to what happened. Hal is in a breathtaking struggle to somehow reach his sister before his parents decide to take her off life-support. Some English words will be unfamiliar. This deals with one of the dilemma's of our time.
School Library Journal

Gr 8 & Up - "I'm in a cupboard. A dark cupboard, and it's too small for me. The walls press against my flesh . . . .Through a chink of light where the door is barely open, I think I can hear voices. So many voices. Help me!" These are the unspoken words of Hal's sister Charley, lying in a coma ever since the previous summer's late-night surfing accident on a Cornwall beach. Now it is July once again and Hal's family is off to Brackinton Haven for their annual holiday, leaving Charley behind for the first time. Torn between his anger at his sister for devastating the family and his desire to discover exactly what happened, Hal hears her voice more and more often. As he gets to know the surfer crowd that Charley hung out with and begins a romance with the younger sister of Charley's boyfriend, Hal slowly begins to unravel the mystery. Told in a series of episodes with headings such as "Charley. Then," "Charley. Hospital. Now," and "Hal. Graveyard. Now," the narrative skillfully shifts in time and point of view. Readers of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones(Little, Brown, 2002) and Peter Dickinson's Eva(Delacorte, 1989) will be intrigued by Dogar's exploration of such questions as: Where exactly is a person when she no longer inhabits her earthly body? Can she communicate with those she has left behind? Both suspenseful and thoughtful, action packed and atmospheric, this novel is compelling and memorable.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Every year, Hal's family vacations at their summer home in Brackinton on England's coast. However, things are different this year: His spirited older sister Charley won't be there, and the family's return means painfully revisiting the site of Charley's mysterious accident, which left her comatose. From the moment Hal returns to Brackinton, Charley's thoughts eerily start mixing with his own urging him to remember the details of her accident. With the help of Jack, Hal's crush and the younger sister of Charley's boyfriend, Hal learns to listen closely to Charley's disembodied voice and to piece together memories of that fateful night until he finally understands the shocking truth behind Charley's accident. Skillfully narrated through Hal and Charley's alternating voices and thoughts, Dogar frequently and seamlessly shifts between time and place to create a haunting mystery packed with suffering, hope and personal growth. Riveting. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Liverpool native Sharon Dogar is a graduate of the City Literary Institute of London, and her diverse métiers include being a waitress, bar girl, fruit picker, hearing therapist, school counselor, and now an official writer. Sharon enjoys staring at the sea, lying in meadows, reading stories, looking at pictures in galleries, watching theatre, spending time with family and children, and traveling to here and there.

Sharon’s first book with Scholastic’s Chicken House, Waves, will be released in 2007. About how the story was birthed, Sharon comments, “I had ‘the moment.’ That moment when a character just arrives in your mind and begs to be written--whether you want to do it or not. I remember it was lunchtime, and I was fed up and angry because everything I tried to write felt dull and dead. I walked into the sitting room and had a thought: I was by the sea. And in that moment I saw a boy with his back to me, he was in the kitchen of a beach house, looking at something on the wall. Looking at it with utter intensity and absorption. I knew straight away his name was Hal. I walked back into my own kitchen and wrote the prologue, immediately and completely, exactly as it remains now in the final manuscript. And then I had to write the story to go with it!”

For the future Sharon plans to be an involved and active mother and eventually grandmother, see spring turn into summer every year, and of course, continue writing. She presently resides in England with her husband and three children.

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Waves 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Every year the whole family goes to Cornwall, to the beach house, for vacation. Mum, Dad, Charley, Hal, Sara -- one big happy family, every year. Until this year. This year Charley won't be there. This year they won't be much of a happy family anymore. And it's all because of Charley. Charley's staying at home, in a hospital bed, in a coma. Caught somewhere between life and death. She's been that way since Hal found her last summer, washed up on the rocks by the water.

Ever since that day, nothing seems right, or even okay anymore. Mum and Dad have been fighting, Mum's unpredictable and distant, Hal is confused and angry, and even Sara asks questions that no one can answer and says things no one can understand.

The one thing Hal knows for sure is that his sister is not in the body that lies in that hospital bed. He can't stand to go there. He can't stand to see his vibrant, lively sister colorless and wasted. He can't stand to hear people talk to her like she's a sick child, like the world is still normal. Vacation seems like an escape to Hal.

At the beach house, Hal finds he's more trapped than ever. Charley is everywhere: in pictures, in memories, in the secret places they used to explore, in the memories of the new friends he's making, even in his head. Hal is starting to think that there's more to the story than any of them realize. The closer he gets to it, the more he can feel and hear his sister. Maybe he can find the answers that they both need. But, time is running short, and things are starting to seem dangerous. Every answer brings more questions, and Hal doesn't know if he's prepared to do what needs to be done. He only knows that he has to find a way, for Charley, for his family, for himself.

While some readers may find it hard to accept the clairvoyant relationship between Hal and Charley, it's not really hard to believe. When you're a kid no one understands you better than your family. Especially a brother or sister that's very close to you in age, and is your best friend. Who else would know you thoughts, and hear you when no one else is listening?

Not just a touching story (yes I cried) but beautiful. Yes, it's heartwarming, and heartbreaking. Sure, it's a coming of age story. It's also mysterious and surprisingly suspenseful. The characters are full, whole people. They surprise you, and make you angry, and make you feel what they feel. And the ending is the kind of ending that's so right that it makes you mad. It may not be what you expected, or what you wanted, but it's right and it's real. Just like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book a little over a year ago, and I loved it so much. Dogar did an amazing job of interjecting flashbacks to make sense and add information. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good summer read, it has romance, pain, and exceptional characters.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by-far the best book that i have ever read! I am thirteen years old, so i do a lot of reading in school and out. This book i actually read outside of school. It is amazing. If you like mysterie, love stories, realistice fiction.... you will love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Waves is about Hal , a fifteen-year-old boy whose sister was in a near-fatal surfing accident a year before the book begins. When he and his family return to their seaside house next summer, leaving Charley in a coma back in Oxford, Hal tries to piece together what really happened that year, and why Charley's desperate cries for help as she lies dying are always in his head. I expected a lot from this book, but I was very dissapointed. It got very repetitive at times, and I found my mind wandering. The ending was not a happy one, and I was very let down by the strange scene where all was revealed. No dramatic twists, although Sharon Dogar obviously attempted one. A nice writing style is really all I can say.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Waves by Sharon Dogar in my opinion was one of the most intense, interesting, ¿need to find out what happens¿ kind of suspenseful novels I have ever read. It was published in April of 2007, and is 352 pages of words that seem to evaporate off the paper. Sharon Douglas uses a lot of descriptive imagery to make you visual the beach and most of the scenes which contributes to the mysterious scenic element of the book. Through out the novel a mystery develops, the beginning is a bit dry but as you approach page 50 or so it gets interesting, with quotes such as ¿I stare at them both, but they don't notice, and the shiver inside me becomes fixed and cold, hard and frozen - I want to howl with laughter at the weird friggin' irony of it. Why now, why are they thinking about this now? Just when she's coming alive again for me? Why now, just when I'm beginning to remember? Perhaps that's why - because I'm beginning to remember something?¿ The story is set in Oxford, England in summer time in a beach house, but most of the story takes place on the actual beach and in the woods by the beach. Charley is the main character Hal¿s brother and she is in a coma. Hal is the main character and he is trying to find out how she got into the coma. The theme I got from this book was if you love someone you will do whatever you can to help them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read. It is a mystery what happens up until the very end of the book, yet the author keeps you hanging during the WHOLE book! Not many people have heard about it, so spread the news, 'Waves is here!'
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was an amazing book...the author has a way with words and descriptions and keeps you hooked. it was almost suspenseful because i wanted so badly to find out what happened. the plot line is quite different from any other book. you won't be able to put it down!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought Waves was really interesting. However the first section was a little repetitive and slow. But the next two sections definatly made up for it because they really got me hooked. The book has a great plot and kept me reading so I would recomend it, just don't give up if you find the beginning a little boring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a constantly on the look-out for new books. I'm not a fan of the typical 'chick lit', it seems boring and monotonous. So finding a decent read is hard. When I bought this book, I wasn't too sure about it. In the beginning, it is a bit dry and a little hard to follow. But once you hit the early-middle of the book, you're hooked. It was very unique, captivating, and just.. different, which, like I said, is hard to find these days. The author did an amazing job and has a very cool writing style that I admire. It's a great read, when I read the last sentence, I had chills. Great characters, amazing plot, and it just utterly fantastic. Give it a try, you won't regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, it keeps you hanging tell the last page, weaves with summer love, brother sister love. Doger connects you to the character as if you are right there with them.