Charm & Strange: A Novel

Charm & Strange: A Novel

by Stephanie Kuehn
4.9 8

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Charm & Strange 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow...this book FOLLOWED me when I wasn't reading it. Not literally, of course, but Win is the type of character that's so achingly real, I kept wanting to return to his story. When I finished late at night, I couldn't sleep because I was still thinking about Win. This book is unsettling and beautiful at the same time, and will probably find itself on my list of re-reads. I don't want to say too much about Charm & Strange and ruin all of the revelations for the reader, but don't miss this book .
AvaJae More than 1 year ago
4.5/5 Intense, unsettling, and unexpected. Read it in basically one sitting because I needed answers to so many questions. Definitely a powerful read.
Katie_breathofbooks More than 1 year ago
Charm & Strange is a captivating tale that contains heavy and dark topics. The characters and relationships are unique, interesting, and complex, and many relationships don't end up where you might expect them to. This story brilliantly weaves the present and the past together by alternating chapters between them. POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD Win is a wonderfully complex character who hasn't been dealt a good hand in life. He lives in a boarding school in Vermont that his parents sent him too, and he spends his time there dealing with his many problems. He experienced many things as a child, especially the summer that he is eleven, that no child should have to experience. He's been through abuse at the hand of his father. He also has severe motion sickness, which causes problems for him on car trips. Because of something he did after a tennis match, he worries he could become like his dad. He fears the wolf inside of him. There are some relationships in this story that don't go the way you might expect them to. For example, when Win meets Jordan, I was expecting a romance to develop. I didn't realize she would end up dating a different guy by the end of the story. There are also some strange relationships when Win's family goes up to visit their cousins. There is a relationship between Win's older brother Keith, and one of the cousins, that seemed like it was a relationship that cousins shouldn't have. The way this story is told enables readers to get a full picture of Win, also known as Drew. You get to read about the past, and the present, and they alternate chapters. By reading his past, you see what events have shaped him into the boy he is today. It shows why he would be emotionally unstable. When you see what's happened to him, you understand him.
DahlELama More than 1 year ago
Cannot even describe this book (and it would probably be a disservice to try), but it was beautiful and incredible and so skilfully and confidently written that it actually weirds me out that it's a debut. So very deserving of its Morris Award.
MonicaFMF More than 1 year ago
This is a tale of 16 year old Win/Drew coming to terms with his inner wolf or past. Along the way, we, and eventually he, come to realize despite his attempts at thwarting friendship, he does have friends who will help him with his troubles. The story alternates between past and present frequently, which may be daunting for some readers/writers/formats; however, in this book, if flows quite fluidly. The characters and story and multi-layered. Emotional and scenic descriptions are lush and vivid. Overall an intense read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Missy_Frye More than 1 year ago
Keuhn Expertly Conveys Ugly Circumstances Without the Ugly Graphic Details Maybe it’s because I have a darkness inside me, but I’ve been pleased to find books that deal with tough issues such as the ones found in Charm & Strange. Authors are becoming fearless and giving voice to everything from depression to abuse. I wish these books had been around when I was a teenager. They would have comforted me during times when I didn’t understand what was happening. A bevy of emotions followed me as I read Charm & Strange. The first few chapters instilled a fear of a hokey ending and I prepared myself to be disappointed. But as the story unfolded and clues began to worm their way into my mind a knot formed in my chest. Disgust and dismay strangled my heart and I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know the outcome and I wanted it to be positive because if it wasn’t my heart would continue to be squeezed. Stephanie Keuhn writes fluidly with no superfluous content. The story is paced in a manner that leaves you breathless and the major plot points fall like dominoes. The characters are three-dimensional. I could imagine myself talking with them, getting to know them outside the pages of the book. Drew/Win’s struggle is heartbreaking. Part of me wanted a hokey ending, because that would mean he hadn’t endured such pain and confusion. His battle is against an enemy he doesn’t understand and his strategies leave him vulnerable. Isolating himself isn’t just self-preservation, he truly believes he is protecting those around him. Although the crux of the story emerges from very ugly circumstances, Keuhn manages to convey that ugliness without becoming graphic. To me, that takes talent. And a lot of class. I loved this book and at the same time was disgusted by its morally revolting nucleus. I highly recommend it, but don’t pick it up thinking it will be a quick, light read. You’ll be blindsided and disillusioned if you do.