Bethesda, MD Library
“The book was beautiful in that that it first held a mirror to the protagonist, then to his society as a whole, then to his family, and finally, back to himself. The plot was what really made the book in that it caught you halfway and refused to let you go.”
"Sanchez has crafted a unique and moving story that will connect with teens."
Seventeen.com book club
"Jenny Torres Sanchez has a talent for bringing a very serious issue to light in a way that teenagers can understand."
“Peppered with sardonic humor, debut author Sanchez’s confessional-style prose conveys Charlie’s distress and confusion … Sanchez explores the psychological underpinnings of eating disorders while creating a complete character in the closet-brilliant but perennially tongue-tied Charlie.”
Kathleen Isaacs, Booklist
"The present tense, first-persona narrative, gives a good sense of the problem-plagued boy's reactions to his life...Boys with bulimia are too rare in teen fiction and Charlie comes across as a full-bodied characer, whose depression and hope seem very real."
Frenetic Reader blog
“the admirable, funny narrator and abundance of issues make it an enjoyable read.”
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile blog
“THIS is the type of book that I feel young people should be reading. It's gritty, raw, and yes there is even some profanity, but at the end of the day it's real….Charlie Grisner will forever remain one of my top ten favorite characters. ….I could ramble on for days about this book, and how amazing it is….This is a book that makes you think. It makes you feel. Isn't that what reading is supposed to be all about?... Loved this book. Loved it with all my heart. The Downside of Being Charlie goes on my list of books that will be well-loved, dog-eared, and passed around as often as possible. Trust me, you want to read this. It's utterly fantastic.”
In Bed with Books blog
"This terrific contemporary will appeal to a wide-range of YA readers. The male narrator will hopefully interest guy readers in some of the "girly" topics covered by THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING CHARLIE. I think Sanchez's is one of the best debuts I've read this year."
“a good book with a message of self discovery. It was a quick and enjoyable read."
The Beginning of After
"Charlie is a character you love spending time with through his ups and downs, his comedy and tragedy, those moments where you want to give him a hug and the times you just want to slap him to his senses. He is real, and his journey is a real treat. Jenny Torres Sanchez's debut strikes a delicate, heartfelt balance of honesty and wit."
“Boys will likely identify with Charlie's self-reliance, while seeing into the mind of a boy will fascinate girls. This is a strong well-written book that takes a different perspective on a high school student's senior year. There are no pep rallies or fluffy high school events, only a boy determinedly trying to keep afloat in a world beyond high school.”
School Library Journal"Refreshing to have a book focusing on a young man's struggle with weight and body issues."
Gaye Hinchliff, King County Library System
"Sanchez captivated me from the first line and kept me engaged throughout the entire story with the authentic voices of her believable characters. …The relatable issues of identity, family conflict, and high school drama are particularly appealing to teens…Hand it to a teen reader this summer!"
Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward and 17 other novels
"The Downside of Being Charlie is what you always hope a great Young Adult novel will be: raw, heartfelt, searingly honest coming-of-age emotion in a character who feels almost as important to you as you feel to yourself. This novel exceeds expectations in that and all other regards. If this is Jenny Torres Sanchez's debut novel, this is an author to watch. A must-read for YA fans."
David Yoo, author of The Detention Club and
It doesn't take readers long to wonder whether there is any upside to being Charlie. His apparently bipolar mother has taken off--again; his father, who pretends there's nothing wrong, seems to be having an affair; and he's stuck sharing a locker with Tanya Bate, the school pariah. He does have a loyal friend, Rat Pack–wannabe Ahmed, a newly svelte figure courtesy of fat camp and, perhaps, the interest of cute new girl Charlotte. But these positives barely register in his self-hating, depressive narration. And, really, his life does kind of suck. Aside from everything else, he's not the only kid pursuing Charlotte; sadistic bully Mark is also interested in her, and he takes special pleasure in grinding Charlie down. As Charlie sinks further into depression, he begins to binge and purge in a futile attempt at coping. There is much to recommend this novel--not least because it addresses male body image and eating disorders--but it just doesn't hold together. Charlotte's character development is particularly uneven; she often comes across as unendurably shallow, making Charlie's persistent attraction to her baffling. And Ahmed, Turkish-American for no apparent narrative reason beyond his mother's baklava, is utterly unbelievable, if immensely appealing. Readers who make it to the end will cheer Charlie's survival, but they'll also be glad to get out of his company. (Fiction. 14 & up)