Their family is broken.  It shattered the night they lost Charley.  The night she went swimming alone.  The night before Hal found her lying on the beach, her head on a rock.

The kitchen wall in the Cornwall house at the beach still has pictures of her, laughing down from the top of her rock, the sun making her red hair blaze.  But that was Charley then.  Charley now is in a hospital bed, unable to move, speak, or open her eyes.  Charley now, in a coma for month, after month, after month.

Hal hates going to the hospital, hates seeing his sister there, looking limp, almost dead, except for the movement of her chest as she breathes-in, out, in, out.  Sometimes, he thinks he can hear her voice in his head, laughing at him, or begging him for help.  But is it just his imagination?  Charley's gone, the family is broken, and there's no one to answer his questions.  Why did she go out alone?  What if she wasn't alone that night?  Who was she with, and why?  Could he have saved her if he'd found her earlier?  Only Charley knows the answers, and she's not really here any longer, so she can't answer.  Or can she?  Maybe that voice in his head isn't his imagination.  Maybe there's a way Charley can tell him what happened to her, can answer all of his questions.

This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian, and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.