Title: Charm & Strange
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: St. Martin Griffin
Publication date: June 11th, 2013
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.
“I am the sea. I am of instability.
I am harsh, choppy aves roiling all the ups-ness, down-ness, top-ness, bottom-ness contained within my being.
I am of charm adn strange.
Annihilation. Creation. Annihilation.”
This is the weirdest book I believe I’ve ever read. For sure. When I first heard about this book and how amazing it was supossed to be, I was sold. I’m down for a very good mystery, and this was described as “one you know nothing until the very last page”. So yeah, I immediately bought it. And I have to say it was actually true. It was a very good mystery story, where you literally are as confused as ever while reading it. However I would recommend to go to it as blind as possible, because after finishing it I read the synopsis and it has minor spoilers.
BUT GUYS! If you do pick this up just be aware of the fact that one of the main reasons that kept me continuing the story was that plot twist of the end, because it was quite slow and descriptive. And I honestly don’t know how to talk about this book because I feel everything I say could potentially be a spoiler. Anyways, I’m going to try my best and talk about the things I loved and didn’t like as much.
“When one no longer believe in such a alluring magic, then rationality has beaten back one’s wide-eyed innocence.”
If you’ve been following my blog for a while (or reading my reviews) you’ll probably have noticed that this year I’ve been so obsessed with mysteries/thrillers, and so I’m down for anything that I discover about that genre. And I have to say this was such a good mystery, a weirdly one let me add, with hints of paranormal at times. And even most of the times you really didn’t know what was going on, or how the things that happened had something to do with the story, the promise of finding out everything at the end kept you going.
The story alternated between past and present, and so you were having an idea of the main character’s back story and how something happened that change everything. I love novels that have flashbacks in them, it makes them easier to read and usually I feel more focused in the story. And this one was no different. As it was a very slow and descriptive story, the flashbacks added some freshness to the whole book.
And I adored how this book had no romance in it. I love the friendship in the novel, and I wasn’t expecting to find one, so I was a bit surprised.
“That made me mad, and so I think the movie version got it right: people don’t change. Their nature, that is. There are other kinds of change, of couse.”
I have to say I really love unreliable characters. I love books that messed with my mind (without being horror). This one had a very unreliable narrator, and it was so odd reading everything he thought and felt, but at the same time it was super enjoyable to distinguish between those things.
I have to say the ending didn’t blow my mind like it did to everyone else. I knew about one of the main punches in the story, and since everyone was saying it was completely unexpected it kinda was a bit disappointing. Still, I have to add I didn’t know about the other plot twist, and that did surprise me.
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