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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella is the heartbreaking story of a 13-year-old boy as he is forced to face a harsh world that doesn’t seem to understand him, yet he understands the world pretty well. Charlie’s mother is an addict, and somehow he pays the price for that. Taken away from his grandparents and transported to the Hawthorne Residential Treatment Village, Charlie has no one to call when he is in trouble. His mother is hardly the caring type, so he understands that he only has himself to depend upon. Taking refuge in books, Charlie keeps away from the other children in the facility. His only friend is Margo, and he develops strong feelings for her. But alas, his life is not meant to be easy. When he is betrayed by his only friend at the facility, he decides to run away. That is when he faces another harsh reality, but this time, he needs to be his own protector and provider.
Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella is a dark tale of survival and of growing up much too quickly. How many kids have to live such lives? Every one of them cannot be like Charlie and not have loving grandparents anxiously waiting for them. This story is a little hard to read at times because of how real it all feels. Charlie is just a teenager, but he faces bitter truths and harsh realities that will shake even many adults. His development and progress are phenomenal. He keeps his innocence, yet he matures as well. He still looks up to the adults who once provided him with security and love, yet he is not the same kid anymore. I hated his mother; she is not an easy character to like, and I hardly sympathized with her. The narrative is powerful. It is an emotional, unraveling, and a thought-provoking story that everyone will enjoy reading.