Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Page Count: 213
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: eARC courtesy of publisher
Synopsis From Goodreads:
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 is an amazing book that was completely different than anything I have ever read before. The story was NOT was I was expecting, and it turned out to be so much better than I thought it would. I don't want to say too much and give anything away, so just know that you should really pick up this book. You will not be disappointed!
I really enjoyed how the chapters alternated between the past and the present because it kept the story fresh and interesting and added so much depth to the plot. Even though it was a bit confusing at times, I thought that it was confusing in the best way possible! I must admit that for most of the book I didn't know what was going on or what certain things meant, but the intrigue just made me want to read more. It is left up to the reader to piece together snippets from the past and present and ultimately figure out what happened to Win/Drew. Just be ready when you figure it out because it is mind blowing.
Kuehn's beautiful writing really conveys Win/Drew's painful and traumatic life. She somehow manages to make the entire novel feel unreal and dreamlike. I loved the slow build throughout the book, and the plot twist really turned everything and takes the book in an unexpected direction. By the end, everything falls into place and you get to see things for what they really are.
Of course, my favorite part of Charm & Strange is Win/Drew. I thought his personality was all over the place, but I still found myself really liking him and desperately trying to figure him out. His odd behavior and emotional instability made me empathize with him, but it also made me question his sanity. I thought he had amazing character development, but I found him unreliable as a narrator.
Charm & Strange is unpredictable, dark, emotional and truly heartbreaking. It's perfect for those who want to read a book that is completely unique. I thought it was a brilliant book and I highly recommend it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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