Charlie's mother left the family when Charlie was a kid, Charlie's dad forced Charlie into publishing the Beetle Boy stories and touring Michigan to sell them, and Charlie's little brother resents Charlie (or so Charlie thinks) for being a bad big brother.
The reader, much like Charlie's girlfriend, doesn't get all this information at once. The story of Charlie's past is told through flashbacks. And as the story progresses, Charlie's past starts affecting his present and now he's got to deal with old friends and old family before he can move on to the future.
The author of Beetle Boy, Margaret Willey, also wrote the YA novel Four Secrets, which I reviewed earlier this year and really liked. Beetle Boy was also good with a message about forgiveness and family ties and independence. It's recommended for ages 13-18, and I think it's probably best for kids on the older end of that age range.
Beetle Boy is published by Carolrhoda Lab and is available now to purchase. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.