Drop Shadow

The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly

By Rebecca K.S. Ansari


Charlie O’Reilly is an only child. Which is why it makes everyone uncomfortable when he talks about his brother.

Liam. His little brother, who, up until a year ago, slept in the bunk above Charlie, took pride in being as annoying as possible, and was the only person who could make Charlie laugh until it hurt. Then came the morning when Liam disappeared forever. No one even remembers him—not Charlie’s mother, who has been battling depression; and not Charlie’s father, who is often gone on business trips. The only person who believes Charlie is his best friend, Ana; even if she has no memory of Liam, she is as determined as Charlie is to solve the mystery of his missing brother.

The search seems hopeless . . . until Charlie finds a mysterious note, unmistakably written in Liam’s handwriting. And if he and Ana are going to figure out what happened to Liam, they have no choice but to follow its instructions—even if doing so could mean that they, too, might disappear, unremembered, forever.

Rebecca K. S. Ansari’s debut is a stunning contemporary fantasy about love, loss, and the power to forgive that we carry inside ourselves—even if we forget that it’s there.

Rebecca K.S. Ansari

Rebecca K.S. Ansari is a former emergency room doctor. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, four sons, and some seriously massive pets.

Readers will bite their nails and cheer for Charlie and his friends every step of the way. A nuanced villain adds depth and complexity to the story, and plot turns abound, both delightful and heartbreaking. An original premise, tear-jerker twists, and a touching message about forgiveness make this a must-have on every middle grade shelf.

- School Library Journal

Ansari’s debut middle-grade novel is a genre-blending story that rings with themes of shared family grief and the power of forgiveness.

- Booklist

Ansari trusts her audience with a complex narrative that traverses the breadth of time and the depths of self. The weave of guilt, family struggle, and forgiveness both complicates and complements questions of love and self-acceptance. Plot twists that’ll turn even veteran readers’ heads.

- Kirkus Reviews

Click to download the Educator’s Guide for The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly, featuring discussion questions and classroom activities!

Published by Walden Pond Press an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers