Freak Magnet

( 5 )


A novel about freaks, geeks, crushes, and friends?and how sometimes you can be all of them at once.

Charlie is the freak. Gloria is the freak magnet. They're pretty much destined to meet. And when they do, sparks fly . . . for Charlie. Gloria, well, she just thinks he's like every other freak who feels compelled to talk to her, although a little better-looking than most.

While Charlie has his head in the clouds, Gloria's got hers in a book: ...

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Freak Magnet

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A novel about freaks, geeks, crushes, and friends—and how sometimes you can be all of them at once.

Charlie is the freak. Gloria is the freak magnet. They're pretty much destined to meet. And when they do, sparks fly . . . for Charlie. Gloria, well, she just thinks he's like every other freak who feels compelled to talk to her, although a little better-looking than most.

While Charlie has his head in the clouds, Gloria's got hers in a book: her Freak Folio—a record of every weirdo who's talked to her in the last year (it's a big book). But never before has she felt the pull to get to know one of them better. Until now.

In this he-said-she-said tale of love, loss, and lucky signs from the author of the ac-claimed Funny Little Monkey, two young strangers at a crossroads in their lives become friends by happy accident (okay, maybe some harmless stalking is involved—and not by the person you'd think!) and forever change each other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At first glance, this novel seems like a straightforward if unconventional love story: boy sees girl, boy chases after girl screaming that she’s beautiful, girl tells boy to get lost. But through the alternating points of view of Charlie and Gloria, Auseon (Jo-Jo and the Fiendish Lot) layers this romance with much more--Charlie’s pain over his mother’s terminal illness as well as Gloria’s grief over her brother’s death in Afghanistan and her frustration with a mother who is attentive to everything but her daughters. As Charlie and Gloria fall in love, readers are treated to the musings of a complicated boy whose extroversion and peculiarities (he wears a Superman costume under his clothing) mask inner pain, and Gloria, who, underneath her hard exterior, longs for someone to see her for who she is and love her still. Evocative of the work of Barry Lyga, Auseon’s story offers characters that feel lifted from the bright, angsty, offbeat world of comics. Readers will easily fall for this story of freak love; it’s poignant, laugh-out-loud funny and awkward in the best of ways. Ages 14-up. (June)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“A small gem of a story in which a talented author reveals hidden layers of his characters… [M]oving and delightful.”
“Strikingly clever…draws both blood and laughter.”
“Touchingly realistic and balanced with humor … [A] skilled and moving portrait of two young people struggling to make sense of the world.”
Sara Zarr
“A love story as only Andrew Auseon can write it: with unflagging soul and plenty of crazy.”
Sara Zarr
“A love story as only Andrew Auseon can write it: with unflagging soul and plenty of crazy.”
Booklist on Funny Little Monkey
“Strikingly clever…draws both blood and laughter.”
VOYA - Jamie S. Hansen
Twitchy Charlie Wyatt, obsessed with astronomy and superheroes, is a self-proclaimed freak, and Glory Aboud suspects she possesses a certain magnetism that attracts freaks. The story of how these two very different teenagers meet, move through attraction on his part and initial distaste on hers, and finally connect is told in alternate chapters in this charming and clever novel. What appears to be a rather typical novel of freaks, geeks, slackers, and rebellious teens becomes a small gem of a story in which a talented author reveals hidden layers of his characters. The too-small Superman costume Charlie wears beneath his clothes is a far better fit than the smiley-face badge forming part of his uniform as a clerk at Family Friends Pharmacy. Charlie needs to be a superhero to cope with his mother's terminal illness, and the badge is no help. Glory ("the world's most beautiful woman") seems the answer to all his prayers. In spite of the advice of his friend Edison to stop and consider the outcome ("You have a tendency to go all Charlie around strangers."), Charlie begins his somewhat misguided pursuit of his ideal girl, one burdened with her own secret sorrow. After a leisurely start, Freak Magnet assumes the breakneck momentum of one of Charlie's beloved comets. Rapidly, each chapter peels back another layer of personality, moving closer to the core of loss and pain locked inside each protagonist. Recommend this moving and delightful novel to older teens. Reviewer: Jamie S. Hansen
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
When Charlie first saw Gloria, he thought she was so beautiful, it was hard to keep from throwing up. It was inevitable that he was going to talk to her. Charlie is a Superman-obsessed stargazer (he might have discovered a new comet and he wears a Superman costume under his street clothes). Gloria is a self-described "freak magnet"—someone who attracts weirdoes and writes about each encounter in her Freak Folio. She is coping with the death of her brother and spends much of her time writing free form poetry in solitude. But there is some sort of weird attraction between the foaming-at-the-mouth crazy Charlie and Gloria that cannot be explained and over two short summer months they discover that although life is not always good, it has the potential to get better. Charlie's manic behavior at his summer job in a local drugstore is laugh-out-loud fun. In his mind he is an incredibly helpful employee who lectures an expectant mother on overpopulation and the benefits of breastfeeding and rigorously tests the products the store peddles (think jumping on lawn chairs). Gloria's poems that hint of her loneliness and grief are found throughout the text. A wonderfully different take on Beauty and the Beast (otherwise known as the Freak) that makes a good addition to a middle school or high school library. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
Anne Minton
When "freak" Charlie Wyatt spies "magnet" Gloria Aboud in a coffee shop, he falls instantly in love and, despite warnings from a friend, does everything he can to meet her. Little does he realize they have more in common than a cup of coffee. Both suffer from incredible loss and grief—Charlie's mother is bed-ridden with a debilitating illness, and Gloria's brother was killed in Afghanistan. Charlie copes by feigning courage and wearing his Superman costume under his clothes, while Gloria does everything she can to annoy her mother. The two teens' friendship is threatened by their families and Charlie's impending internship. Andrew Auseon tells this unique story from both characters' point of view by alternating chapters, and he isn't afraid to touch on timely, difficult topics. Teens will want to root for this unlikely couple to help each other through one of the most difficult times in their lives. Reviewer: Anne Minton
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—When not stargazing, Charlie fills his time by working at a drugstore and running around town with a Superman costume under his clothes. One day, he runs after the most beautiful girl he's ever seen. Gloria is used to attracting people who are a little different, but Charlie is on the fringe, even for her. While Gloria is mourning her brother's recent death in Afghanistan, Charlie is dealing with his mother's progressively debilitating sickness. He finally has the opportunity to break free of his reactive cycle, but the consequences could be more severe than he imagined. Auseon's attempt to develop Charlie through the arc of mania is half successful: the teen's behaviors at the beginning of the tale appear to be an affectation, which causes the gradual developing of self-awareness to seem faked. The social awkwardness that Auseon writes about will remind readers of the work of Mark Haddon and Francisco X. Stork, but there is a hollowness to it. However, Charlie's belief in the powers of the Superman costume is touching in his naïveté. Gloria's confrontation with her mother over the appropriate displays of grief is powerful and moving, and could be used for classroom discussions. The pacing is slow and the dual voices in the narrative fracture the story further. Not as outright bizarre as the author's Jo-Jo and the Fiendish Lot (HarperTeen, 2009), this book will appeal to more sophisticated readers, but only those with long attention spans and patience for quirks.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Bizarrely freakish Charlie bides his time, donning a superhero suit under his clothes, obsessing over astronomy, working at a pharmacy and mooning over Gloria, a hypnotizingly beautiful Middle Eastern teen poet. Charlie completely bumbles their first meeting in a D.C. coffee shop, and that's just par for the course in the chapters that follow, which are told in their alternating voices. Very often Charlie's behavior is more than odd, and at times it veers into the realm of a disorder comparable to OCD or Asperger's, which Auseon never addresses; in this work, he doesn't really need to. As in previous efforts, the author offers plenty of unique characterizations, unexpected plot twists and genuine moments of teen angst. What continues to undermine and overwhelm the better points of his work, however, is his determination to play armchair psychiatrist to his characters and spoon-feed his readers the underlying reasons why his characters behave the way the do. Each moment goes down like cough syrup, and by the time they finish readers will have gotten more than their fill of sticky Good Life Lessons. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061139260
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/15/2010
  • Pages: 297
  • Sales rank: 1,438,155
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Auseon is a video game designer and the author of Funny Little Monkey, Jo-Jo and the Fiendish Lot, and Alienated, which he wrote with filmmaker David O. Russell. Andrew lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his family.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Just really touched me

    Okay so I first read this book in the library when I was what 12... and I really couldnt put it down so I checked it out and finished it around 2 in the morning on a school night. This book just really brings you in the story. Can't give spoilers. Just read it.

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  • Posted February 10, 2012

    A fun read!

    This novel is about a "freak" named Charlie and a "magnet" named Gloria. Charlie is a very interesting character. He has Asperger-type behaviors and totally sees the world in his own way and he embraces that.

    When we first hear about Gloria, the reader makes the assumption that she is one of the beautiful girls who has no problems.

    Then Charlie sees Gloria and their story begins.

    The chapters alternate in this book between Charlie and Gloria. Charlie first sees Gloria when she enters a coffee shop to get coffee. To him, she is the most beautiful person he has ever seen and he feels the need to tell her.

    We learn that Gloria definitely attracts freaks though she tries not to and when she meets Charlie it reinforces her view that she is a freak magnet.

    Charlie is one of the sweetest characters I have read. He has such a good heart and he totally wears it on his sleeve. Gloria could have been a typical snobby girl, but the author gives her a vulnerability that makes her likable.

    Although the characters meet through many chance encounters, the author makes us believe that it is totally normal and that perhaps fate does take an active role in some lives.

    This was a fun read and I am glad that I had the opportunity to go into Charlie's and Gloria's world, even if just for a little while.

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  • Posted January 21, 2011


    This book has alternating point of view every other chapter between Charlie and Gloria that starts with Charlie. He is awkward and he has a trip planned to Chile for an astronomy internship that he won over thousands. Gloria's family has never been further than they are during the book. The book is about how Gloria and Charlie learning to open up to other people after they have become closed off from situations that have broken both of their hearts. They just want to get away from the problems that are bugging them.

    My favorite characters are not the main characters but then for me they so rarely are. I liked Charlie's best friend, Edison and Gloria's older sister, Maggie. Edison tries to stop Charlie from "pulling a Charlie". Pulling a Charlie is when Charlie gets excited he forgets how he is supposed to act and without scaring the person that he is talking to. Charlie has the tendency to yell a lot. Edison and Charlie became friends after Edison was put into a wheelchair and Edison takes it upon himself to protect Charlie and is like a typical teenage boy. Maggie loves comic books and dresses like some of her favorite character all of the time. She looks out for Gloria and encouarages her to act crazy every so often.

    Charlie and Gloria like I have already stated somewhere up there are the main characters. Charlie is a bit of a jerk near the end of the book while Gloria is a jerk in the beginning. So they each have their moments of jerkitude. I like how way the author does the tone of both of the voices in the point of views. I found the ending of the book to be sweet but a little bittersweet.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Hannah Marie for Teens Read Too

    The quirky characters are believable. Their unexpected romance is perfect. But most importantly, the spontaneous order that brings them together is exactly what they both need. Charlie Wyatt is something else, alright. He's an astronomy nerd, talks way too much when he's nervous, and secretly earns his daily strength from a Superman costume he wears underneath his clothes. As far as Gloria Aboud goes, she's one tough cookie you don't want to mess with. Yet, she has an expressive side that comes out in her poetry. They are the last people you'd ever expect to end up with one another. As this story proves, though, sometimes it's our life challenges and struggles that bring polar opposites together. Andrew Auseon's FREAK MAGNET is an unexpected yet completely likeable novel. Everything is realistic; there's no nonsense characters or traditional fairy tale plots. Charlie and Gloria are two people that you could find walking the streets in real life or, in this case, Washington, D.C. This makes their reliance on one another and their personal growths resonate in your own heart.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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