Thursday, September 5, 2013

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn Review

"When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . . 

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."

This will be a short review. 

The first thing you should know about Charm & Strange is that only mature teenagers and older should read this book. Like really mature. I shudder to think of the young and immature's line of thought, mouth, action, and mind. 

Anyway, it would have been helpful if someone told be that this isn't a "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" book. Well, sort of. It's true that Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself, but it's more of instinct versus moral code. There's no Drew persona or Win persona. I think it's more of a, like I said before, instinct versus moral code, or Andrew Winston Winters.

Charm & Strange has its own charm and strangeness. It's a short book with a lot of violence, drugs, hormones, and more violence. Obviously, this isn't very suitable for young children. (I'd already said that.) With that, Charm & Strange is guarantee to never bored the reader. It helps that Charm & Strange is a short book, which helps with the 'no boredom' idea. 

I find it annoying, the chapters. I didn't figure out which chapter is the past and which chapter is now. What is the difference between "Antimatter" and "Matter". It takes me, let's say, about ten chapters in when I finally figure out the difference between then and now. 


Andrew Winston Winters is a broken young boy, who is scarred by the deaths of his siblings, the craziness of his family, and the dark side in his mind. He's lost, determined to shut everything up and pretend that he's normal, even though he knows he isn't. He isn't like normal boys, who dreams of hooking up with a girl and doing what every guy always dreams of doing. (Yeah, I don't really want to get into this cause, well... Do you really need to ask?) There's a bad boy hidden within him. A shadow. He fights to stay sane yet also wants to become insane. 

Rating: Four out of Five

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