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Charm & Strange

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,937 Ratings  ·  922 Reviews
The 2014 Winner of the William C. Morris Award

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 . . .

In Stephanie Kuehn's brilliant debut Charm & Strange, Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He's part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 11th 2013)
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Christin The answer for that is a pretty intense spoiler. But I think this would be a good choice for a teen book club. It's compelling and will give you…moreThe answer for that is a pretty intense spoiler. But I think this would be a good choice for a teen book club. It's compelling and will give you plenty to discuss about the content and the writing style.

If you want to message me privately for a spoilery answer that would be welcome.(less)
Lolade yes. the main character talks about it a bit toward the beginning
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emily May
Jun 22, 2013 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Reviewing Charm & Strange requires some seriously careful tiptoeing around the spoiler landmines - they are everywhere. Reading Charm & Strange requires a lot of patience and a reader who can be satisfied sitting through many pages of not having a clue what's going on just to make it to the excellent conclusion. The ending makes this book, it gives the story it's strength, and I foresee many DNFs on the horizon from readers who become restless waiting to find out what this weird little
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

Reread 01/08 : Nobody said that we coudn't begin the year by rereading our fave of the year before, right? After the awful start I had, I'm totally creating a new rule I love it already.

Note that I'm not usually the biggest fan of books that hold the truth too long but damn, I enjoyed this one way too much to complain.

How to cook an incredible and dark mindfuck?

TAKE an unreliable narrator who I *cough* loved? Am I bad? I mean, to say that the guy is pretty fucked-up is an understatement - eve
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Jan 13, 2016 Aj the Ravenous Reader rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Sarah *on hiatus*

I know two stars may be a bit cruel especially coming from me but I just couldn’t afford to rate this any higher. I didn’t hate it but I honestly didn’t like it either. Others thought this story was a breath of fresh air and was completely mindboggling. For me, it was suffocating and predictable.:/

Please allow me to explain. I’m with everyone who says this YA psychological-mystery is unique. This is true because I’ve never read anything quite like this before although I’m hoping never to read an
Jun 16, 2013 Giselle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, arc, mind-fuck
This book takes mind-fuck to a whole new level--and excuse my french, but there is really no calling this one any different.

Charm and Strange is... well it is very definitely strange. This is probably one of the most baffling books I've read. I was unable to stop thinking and questioning and wondering about every single thing that was going on in this book. It felt like it was going to go one route, only to leave me completely bewildered by the direction it did take. While you will likely want
I am of the sea.
I am of instability.
I am of harsh, choppy waves roiling with all the up-ness, down-ness, top-ness, bottom-ness contained within my being.
I am of charm and strange.

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No one really knows Andrew Winston Winters. A lonely teenager exiled to a remote boarding school after a family tragedy. Win shuts himself off from the outside world- no matter the cost, because his biggest fear is himself.

 photo charm1_zpszlz9gqhh.png

16-year-old Win- attending a boarding school in Vermont- f
Buddy read with Nab & Vilda

Final rating: 4.5/5 stars

"The story that was too big for me to tell, the one that grew to fill the depths of my being and the far corners of my mind. It’s how I lost my system of meaning… but I haven’t lost everything."

This is a difficult book to review. So, let me start with the rating . Why 4.5 stars? 4 stars is because it was confusing at times and frustrating because you have absolutely no idea what is going on, and extra half star is for uniquen
Jun 28, 2015 Arianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars!!

“Charm and Strange” was an intriguing mystery/realistic fiction that will leave you disturbed, but wanting more. It was a strange, confusing, frustrating read that totally kept my attention from start to finish. This was my second novel by this author and like the first one it was fantastically written, interesting even unique I could say. Mrs. Kuehn is a great storyteller and for sure know how to keep her readers interested. Her writing is simple, yet poignant and addictive and I have
Words can't even begin to describe how incredibly impressed I am with this fantastically beautiful and incredibly powerful little novel. I feel like I get this across in each and every review for books I give five stars, but I am not a reviewer who gives five stars easily. In fact, Charm & Strange is the first book I've given five stars this entire year, and trust me when I say it deserves those five stars, and then some.

Not only is this novel endlessly brilliant, but it's masterfully writt
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤ (of BADGER and Snake)
*4.5 Stars*

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Wow. This is going to be a hard one to talk about. I mean, how do you explain a book that's shrouded in mystery? We don't know what's real, what's imagined, what happened...we are completely in the dark until all the pieces slowly start to fit together. Indeed this is a journey that I don't see everyone loving, but, for me, it was absolute perfection.

There are wants and needs in this world, I think. There are hopes and guarantees. There are the things that are true and the things we
Sue (Hollywood News Source)
I heard so many rave reviews about Charm & Strange. I knew I had to buy myself a copy and I did. I bought it last May, but I cowardly chickened out all these months.

I am very picky at reading books that have a maleprotagonist, particularly because their point of view were lacking. It come off as egregious. A book of vast void spaces.There are few exception of course, and Charm & Strange is one of that.

This story follows the story of a teenage boy Win, who believes he is a werewolf, who c
“Love doesn’t always look nice.”

Few books manage to make me feel this way: cut open and broken and completely overcome.

It’s difficult to talk about Kuehn’s debut in detail without revealing significant plot points; and I do feel this is a book best experienced as it is structured, that is, allowing the story to unwind from Andrew/Win gradually. His narrative is one of violence and blood and glimpses in between shadows, trauma layered deep in shame and visceral pain. His story emerges in fragme
Steph Sinclair
OMG. THIS BOOK. I held off reviewing Charm & Strange for one reason: I have no idea how to review a book like this. It’s a psychological thriller that leaves you completely confused until the very last pages. There were literally times where I thought, “Okay, this is dumb” or “WTF am I reading?” But wow. I was left in pieces by the end and I think I might have finished the entire book in one day, which is a feat for me with kids running around all day. I couldn’t tear myself away from it. I’ ...more
Jul 02, 2013 Vilda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy darker emotional and serious reads
Buddy Read with Kristalia!

Rating: 3,5 stars

"My sister was the same way. She thought there was a reason for everything.
Me? I don't think there's a reason for anything.
Not anymore."

Gosh! Reviewing Charm & Strange is seriously hard! This book and I started out on the wrong foot. I'm not quite sure why, but there was something about it that kept bugging me. I think it was because it was so extremely vague at first, that I actually got annoyed a while; I was so confused that it wasn't even
Kathe L

Oh, God. You guys don't know how frustrating it is to want to read a book but not having the time to do it. And I needed to read this book but studying was always coming first and when I realized I had the time to read it, it was sleep time and I knew if I used that time to read I would be a walking zombie in the morning. So, when I discovered I didn't have classes today I decided to use the time to finally read.

"Then again, maybe she knows.
Because blood is blood, and every family has its own
Jan 03, 2016 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Molly by: Alienor
This book seriously messed me up.


It was a good book, even if not so good for my mental health. Not that I've never read nothing disturbing ... it's just that usually I see it coming way ahead. Only two or three times a year something messes me at this level.

“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.”

I'll be short. I won't write about the plot, it's a pretty short story, and I don't wont t
Frankly speaking, I am at a loss for words when it comes to Charm and Strange. On one hand, I think this book is brilliant. Its narrator is unreliable and by the end, you are just as shocked and confused and he himself is, I suspect, if not more. Furthermore, the ambiguous ending had my mind reeling with its realistic quality and the lack of romance was surprisingly refreshing. I have never seen the issue this book tackles expressed in this way before – or even thought to see it expressed this w ...more
Wendy Darling
This book is a wild, abstract beast that demands terrible pity--yet it's written with such unerring discipline that it never becomes unruly or mundane.

Recommended for: fans of Black Helicopters, Brooklyn, Burning, Nova Ren Suma, and possibly If You Find Me.

Full text of this review may be found The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
Jul 18, 2015 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a Young Adult book!
..... Impossible to put down, a one-sit-hanging-by-a-thread-reading.
..... Gripping, dark themes....(not predictable...uncertain about what is going on until the end).
..... Very sad
..... This story centers around Andrew. It's challenging for him to understand life. His past
haunts him, and his future bedazzles him.
..... The storytelling is brilliant. The confusion for Andrew, and the reader, will slowly get revealed.
The writing is powerful, character driven, and wi
Feb 14, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Win doesn't think he's a good person. He's got a beast -- a wolf -- living inside him. He's waiting for that right full moon when he changes completely. When he goes from being Win-the-guy-at-boarding-school-with-no-friends-and-no-reason-to-live to being Win-the-wolf-he's-supposed-to-be. Then, when there's a death near his school's campus and he's convinced he was the one at fault. That the wolf came out and he wasn't even there enough to know it.

Told in alternating chapters of the present and
I have this giant banner with HOLY FUCK written on it in black block letters running through my head and I can't seem to muster up anything coherent to write.

This book is a mindfuck. I think it's the first book I've read, ever, that literally confused the hell out of me. Everytime I thought I had it all figured out or was starting to understand, it just took me by the ankles and flipped me upside down.

It's simply so... strange.
It's a bit hard to get into in the beginning, because the writing sty
Sarah *on hiatus*
It takes a lot for a book to scare me. The last time I had shivers down my spine when reading, was at age 5. I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, hiding under the covers late at night. When I put it down, I spent a good hour glancing at the door, afraid a pale man with a snake-like face would walk in.
Charm and strange managed to get under my skin, provoke deep emotion and shock me. It genuinely frightened me, and I was close to sleeping with the lights on.

I will keep my summary short be
4.5 stars - Spoilers

-Weird, frustrating and depressing. I loved it. Charm and Strange deserved 4.5 stars just for making me cry at the end, I'm rarely moved to that level.
I don't think this'll be everyone's cup of tea — it certainly wasn't the typical YA novel.

-For the first third of Charm and Strange I thought the story was about this one thing, but then it turned out to be something entirely different… I won't spoil it for anyone. A lot of readers probably won't appreciate that particular 'tw
Faye, la Patata
Man, what a strange, yet meaningful and compelling book. This gave my heart backflips, made my brain shut down, blown my mind to smithereens... as in, wow. Just wow. I'm not sure this is going to be everybody's cuppa, as the book was written in a way that reaches out to those who are patient enough to get through the initial confusion, the abstraction, and the snail-like pace to truly understand and get the story. But damn, stick to it and you'll find the journey to the end fulfilling yet also s ...more
Rachel Hartman
Dec 11, 2013 Rachel Hartman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1) I stayed up til 2 to finish it, which just doesn't happen to me.

2) I bawled like a baby, which is also pretty rare.

I don't want to spoil it. Part of the experience is that you're unfolding the truth at the same time Win is (well, a little faster probably, because you're able to admit possibilities he can't). It's a gut-wrenching exploration of dissociation, sanity, and the purpose of metaphor. Win looks crazy to the people around him, but the story is told in such a humane and sympathetic way
Drew (Drew’s Cup of Tea)
I struggled to rate this book. On one hand, I wanted to give it a high rating because of the author's haunting, beautiful writing and the fact that she obviously knows what she's talking about (she has a degree in psychology, and her knowledge showed through the story).

But on the other hand, I couldn't get past the feeling that this book was just too weird for me.

Andrew Winters has always been fueled by his competitive streak. He's the best tennis player on his team, he makes good grades, and is
Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi
Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

I always had a weak spot for unreliable narrators and shocking reveals so it wasn't strange that this book got under my skin. I like being surprised and even though at moments Charm & Strange went off to places I might wanted to avoid still it gave me what I was looking for.

Meet Win, a boy with a strange idea. Well, he believes that he may be a wolf. Just by that you might realize that this book will go somewhere between realistic and fantasy, depending
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Stephanie Kuehn's debut Charm & Strange is a lot of things: confusing, frustrating, disturbing, thought-provoking, dark, and original. Starting out a career as an author with such an unusual book shows daring. Charm & Strange will not please every reader, and I myself felt largely ambivalent towards it until the very end. Those final scenes, though, helped Charm & Strange coalesce into something harsh but meaningful, something I'm glad to have read, if not understood fully.

Kuehn's wr
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
Two words: dark, anguish

This is not a summer read. (I read it in July, but that's beside the point; it's more a book you swallow in one sitting during a winter storm.)

Andrew Winston Winters (alternately known as both Drew and Win) is 16 and a student at a boarding school in Vermont. He doesn't eat. He doesn't make friends. He doesn't talk much. And he suffers from horrible motion sickness.

The first part of the book (the "before") has Win telling the story in the present, while Drew (his younger
Mónica BQ
This was one very hard book to read. It is potent. It requires patience and compassion. And empathy of the purest kind.

Anyone who's ever read anything by Kuehn knows that she writes about the truths that nobody wants to acknowledge. She writes about the painful truths of a world that make us uncomfortable. She writes about the things that shouldn't happen, but do. She writes about identity. She writes about the dark things that lurk in all of us and how luck, circumstance and outside actions som
Maria (Big City Bookworm)
Big City Bookworm

Well, Charm & Strange was definitely very different from anything I’ve ever read before. It almost felt like certain cult classic films in the sense that it felt off putting and made me a little uneasy, as did films like Fight Club and Trainspotting. It was dark, chilling and definitely very strange…and I enjoyed it quite a bit!

Charm & Strange was written so well, especially for a novel containing themes that you don’t typically see in many novels period. Charm & Strange deals with t
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I'm a YA writer who grew up in Berkeley, California, which is a quirky sort of a place with a ton of wonderful bookstores. My very first job was working in one of those bookstores.

Passions of mine include mental health advocacy, social justice, and sports of all kinds. I currently live in Northern California with my family and our wild menagerie of pets. CHARM & STRANGE and COMPLICIT are out n
More about Stephanie Kuehn...

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“I am both ever evolving and ever decaying.” 22 likes
“From what I can tell, morality is a word. Nothing more. There're the things people do when others are watching and the things we do when they aren't.” 17 likes
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