Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Size: 224 pages
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Swapped through Paperbackswap.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
I have had this book on my to be read pile forever. This ended up being a quick and fun read. This is one of those quirky young adult contemporary fiction coming of age stories. I think it would appeal to fans of John Green or David Levithan.
Charlie is starting the year as a Freshman. This book is a series of letters to a mysterious someone about his thoughts and life during that year. Charlie is a smart kid, he’s not a geek and he can be tough when the situation warrants it. However, he doesn’t have a ton of friends either and is always kind of on the outskirts. This is a book about his navigating a tough time in life…that of the high school freshman.
Parts of this book are laugh out loud funny, while other are heart warming or touching. The book reminds a lot of other contemporary young adult coming of age stories out there, think Paper Towns by John Green.
Charlie is a complex and interesting character. He is super smart but also has some mental and emotional issues he’s struggling with. Watching him deal with his family and friends at high school was very entertaining.
There are some things that are a bit ambiguous throughout. We never find out exactly what type of mental issues Charlie has; just that he’s been in and out of therapy and occasional hospitalization. The ending is pretty open as well; this is just a look into Charlie’s life.
There is some more mature content in here, including some drug use, language and discussion of sex (including date rape and girls forced to commit unwilling sex acts while under the influence). I will say it’s a lot more mature content then I dealt with in high school, but I may have been somewhat sheltered. I could understand why people might find it offensive, but it’s all a valid part of the story.
Overall I enjoyed the book. It’s a fun read and a good look at a kid struggling with growing up and fitting in in high school. It’s one of those book I will probably keep around for my son to read when he hits that age. I enjoyed the book and thought it was an interesting lesson in growing up and accepting who you are.