Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Brad About Books: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Read on June 4, 2013
Expected Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 213 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

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.

Charm & Strange is a unique, dark, and mind-bending novel with twists and turns I didn't see coming and an ending that left me in shock. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and I loved it!

The most original part about Charm & Strange is how the story is told. In the first part of the book, we have alternating chapters: The chapters with the header Matter are told from Win's POV, and the chapters with the header Antimatter are told from Drew's POV. But the strange thing about this? Win and Drew are the same person. Together they form Andrew; and as crazy and as weird as the story sounds, Kuehn pulls it off with this darkly strange and eerie tale. The way that the two parallel stories were spun out were, honestly, magnificent and something that must have been extremely hard to pull off. Thankfully, Kuehn pulled it off seamlessly.

But even though the plot was done amazingly, I can't still deny that Charm & Strange is a different and weird book. Original? Yes. Unique? Definitely. Strange? Most definitely. The plot seemed a bit out there and farfetched for me to believe at times (and yes, this is paranormal fantasy, so obviously it's not real; it just seemed too different for me to get invested into the story at times). But by the end, I was plunged into this world, and I didn't want to stop reading. Charm & Strange is a quick read that's one of the most unique tales I've ever read!

But I also really love the compare and contrast of Andrew in this novel. We get to see both sides of him: Win, the push-around, light side, as well as Drew, the sinister and pretty-much-evil side. It was definitely an excellent story with haunting moments and chilling scenes. Feel like books have becoming repetitive lately? Wanting something new? Charm & Strange is the book for you - you will never find a book like this one.

Overall, Charm & Strange is a one of a kind gem. Truly fascinating, creepy, and unlike anything I've ever read, this book will leave you howling for more.

M Y   R A T I N G

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