Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | April 2016 | 272 pgs
The story begins with Charlie Price's funeral in Paris, and among the mourners are our two protagonists - Aubrey Boroughs and Lena Whitney. Both girls didn't know each other but they have one thing in common, and that is they are both Charlie's girlfriends. When the two girls found out this shocking truth about Charlie's two-timing them, they decided they should find out more things about his death and the Charlie they didn't know. After all, Aubrey and Lena's personalities differ and it seemed Charlie took on different roles to suit their personality. Aubrey is pretty and cool as a cucumber, while Lena is wild, spontaneous and clingy.
As much as Aubrey and Lena dislike the idea of "working together", they also knew that they need each other to fill in Charlie's "loopholes" (as in his timeline dating them) and what they have missed by comparing notes. Their search for answers take them across Europe and Asia; their journey becoming more complicated and risky as they find themselves in situations which question not only Charlie's true self but each other's credibility too, for it seemed each girl harbours secrets of her own.
Charlie, Presumed Dead is a YA suspense and it tells a tale about deception and revenge. The plot is filled with intensity but not fully believable in some circumstances. I found Charlie's method of "death" to be the most far-fetched among all, but I won't elaborate for the risk of spoilers. However, what makes this book a page-turner is the voices of the two girls (we get their narrative alternatively) and the exotic settings as they take readers to places like Kerala, Bombay and Bangkok. While the suspense was great, there are certain parts that are dubious or improbable to believe in my opinion. Still, it was an entertaining read and I've learned something about the various lifestyles and cultures through the protagonists' journey.