A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
The first review I read of author Stephanie Kuehn’s Charm & Strange novel had me interested. I was promised psychological drama, mind-blowingness and mystery. This (and the cover that gave it an eerie feel) made me want to get reading right away. After reading the opening sentence I knew that this would be a read that I would love. The novel lives up to the title: It is a very strange read.
Charm & Strange is the story of main character Andrew Winston Winters (and you take a good look at his first and middle name when I say this next part) who lives his life as Drew and Win. Drew is an angry teenage boy who lives off of his own rage and violent thoughts. He remembers spending a summer with the people closest to him only for something dark to happen that has lead Drew to be the way that he is today. Win is a teenage loner who keeps the world away from him, he shuts his classmates and family out because of a tragedy that took place in his family. Despite both boys being ‘individual’ Andrew is half Drew and half Win and this takes a toll on his mind when he’s stuck in the middle of the woods at a party. It’s there that Andrew must come to terms with who he is and fight for his sanity.
At first while reading Charm & Strange I went into the novel unaware of who the characters were. I knew about the plot being a thriller and dramatic but I had no idea who the main character was until I re-read the novel’s description. Originally, I thought I was reading the story of two different characters until I noticed that that was impossible and saw that nope it was all the same guy just living as different people. I really enjoyed the difference between characters however and it did make the novel feel genuine and realistic.
One big thing that I noticed while reading Charm & Strange was the foreshadowing. I really enjoyed it because right from the start of the novel there’s a lot of hinting that something big happened to Win/Drew/Andrew and that not everything is right with him. As the novel progressed there way the novel is written made my head begin to spin as I searched for the answer as to what is wrong with Andrew/Win/Drew’s life. What doesn’t make sense? What is reality and what is all made up in his head? That mystery just made the novel all the more awesome. It reminded me a lot of Fight Club n that aspect.
By the time you do finish reading Charm & Strange you get hit with this giant revelation that makes you re-read the revelation and leaves you going “Whaaaaat?” Never have I read a novel with such a crazy plot twist and I have to admit that I never saw it coming. It definitely made the novel all the better and at the same time the ending also ties up any loose ends. Do I think that there will be a sequel? No, but I still really adored the novel while I read it. Plus the chapters that involved the wolf? That was some crazy stuff man. Cray-Zee.
The only thing that some people might want to know about is that there is a lotof coarse language which could offend some readers, other than that I don’t think anybody would have anything to worry about while reading Charm & Strange. I’d recommend this read to fans of psychological thrillers, readers who are looking for a novel that will keep them guessing and readers who just want to get caught up in a nice, quick read.