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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
The kids at school called Charlie a nerd and a brainy one at that. All because of a presentation she did in Grade 2 that described her family holiday as an archaeological dig in Egypt, while everyone else in the class had a typical beach-like vacation. The teacher had tagged Charlie as smart and worldly and by seventh grade, she hadn’t been able to live down her reputation. She had no real friends. That is until the new boy joined their class. Wolf was viewed as a real looker and the prom queens of the seventh grade had their sights set on capturing his interest. But Wolf was just as nerdy as Charlie and the two struck up a friendship right away. The class trip to the museum and the events that happened in the newly installed Nefertari exhibit, the one that Charlie’s mom had helped install, solidified their friendship. And if a trip back in time to the Egypt of Nefertari’s time wasn’t enough learning, Wolf convinced Charlie that it was important to just be herself and not sell herself short.
Renée Wehrle's Middle Grade novel, Charlie’s Crystal Pyramids, is an exciting read and full of interesting detail as well as valuable life lessons to encourage young readers to be themselves and be proud of who they are. The author’s characterization of the two main characters, Charlie, short for Charlamaine, and Wolf, short for Wolfgang, is both sensitive and intense. Even using such sophisticated names for her characters, she has created an aura of who these characters are and what they represent. A powerful little story with lots of drama, history, astronomy and, of course, the difficult steps of growing up. Well done!