Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Title: Charm & Strange
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: June 11, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a YA fiction fan.
  • You don't mind tough subjects.
What's the Story?:

From "Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying."

My Two Cents:

"Charm and Strange" is the story of Drew/Win, one teen struggling with who he is supposed to be. As Drew, he was witness to great family tragedy that he is never sure that he will recover from. He tries to hide as Win, a teenager at a far away boarding school that knows that he can never talk to anyone about what he has been through. Keeping secrets never works out well! This story packed a punch and I know that it's one that I am going to be thinking about for a really long time. There are a lot of twists and turns in this book and I am going to try to not give away any of them so that you can be just as surprised as I was.

When the book first opens, it seems as if Drew had been sent away to a remote boarding school in New England because of something he did. There is a streak of violence in here that seems to cause trouble at every turn. I really felt for Drew. He is a teenager and still does not understand how to deal with the really bad things in his life. Eventually it becomes too much to bear and he is forced to confide in two other students that also don't seem to be well-adjusted to the boarding school when he begins to break down and with what he is going through, it is no wonder that he breaks down. I don't want to give anything away but I did find myself wondering about the motive behind what happens to Drew and his siblings.

This book was often hard to read because of some of the things that Drew goes through. I loved how the author didn't give you all of the information all at once. She gives the reader enough information to keep you wanting to know what happened next. This made the book really move fast for me, which I totally enjoyed.



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