Charlie is about to start his first year high school. His older brother has just left to start his first year at college on a football scholarship and his older sister is in her final year. Charlie is a wallflower. He sees everything that goes on around him from the sidelines but doesn’t always know how to participate. Now in high school Charlie navigates through new friends, first dates and mix tapes. Through in some good old family drama and Charlie starts to see what life is like when you actually live it. But it also forces him to confront feelings and memories from long ago. A tale of self discovery and coming of age with a difference. 

After watching the netflix series 13 reasons why, I was desperate to read the book (I’m still on the reservation list for this at my local library!)  and I found a list of similar novels on a pinterest post. This was the first one that was available was The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and I was not disappointed.

The Perks of being a Wallflower is a very unique book. It’s written from the perspective of the main character, Charlie, writing letters to an unknown recipient about his first year in  high school. Charlie is a very interesting character with a unique sense of the world that comes through his letters. It reminded me a little bit of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, although it is never suggested in this novel that Charlie is autistic.

But Charlie is different, he thinks differently and sees the world around him in an unique way. He sees all the little things people do and say and remembers them. He also is very logical and literal and struggles in social situations. The book follows Charlie’s first year in high school as he gets in trouble, makes friends and experiences both joys and sadness. Ultimately it is a journey of self discovery that allows Charlie to realise things about himself that he never even knew and come out on the other side.

The subsidiary characters are also interesting and well written. Sam, the love interest of Charlie who is several years older and tells him not to fall in love with her. Patrick, his other best friend, his brother, sister, father and mother. Chbosky weaves a rich tapestry of lives into Charlie’s letters that are utterly believable and completely realistic. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of life. But it also isn’t full of tragic situation and crazy things. That’s one the things that drew me to the novel. It is very realistic. The characters are very relatable and realistic. You could imagine each situation and person being a part of your life. Or they may already be.

A really enjoyable coming of age novel written in a unique and engaging way. If you’re looking for a good summer read definitely check this one out.

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 This book review is contributed by Alice