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Charm & Strange

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  5,064 ratings  ·  1,120 reviews
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.

Hardcover, 216 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
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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 plent…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)
Fuzaila It is essentially a YA mystery. But some say it is paranormal/fantasy too.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,064 ratings  ·  1,120 reviews

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Emily May
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it

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 novel
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Holy Crap! What a brilliant debut novel!!! Did I see the ending coming???? Not until the end - and only when the Author wanted me to see the truth. Sheer Brilliancy (is that even a real word?)

So how do I describe this book without spoilers....hmmmm....well first off..I would like to see everyone who has added this book to their "to read" list and actually start reading it as in TODAY...NOW! not pass go, do not wait until the full moon, stop what you are doing and read this brillian
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ by: Sarah

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 -
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook
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
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Sarah
Shelves: psycho

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
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.

[image error] photo 237fb369-dfc5-4e5d-81f9-632685843704_zpsl1hpsan0.jpg

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.

[image error] photo charm1_zpszlz9gqhh.png

16-year-old Win- attending a boa
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
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
C.G. Drews
REREAD: July 2018:
I've been reading all the Stephanie Kuehn books I could get my hands on this week and since I read this four years ago (and remembered nothing wow go me) I thought I'd reread! I actually don't think I understood half of the book the first time. 0_0 It's extremely unreliable and actually, rereading, I found it a bit disjointed. But it is absolutely about a kid who's struggling with severe mental health issues after a tragedy in his past. It's messed up, it's raw, and it's gut-wr
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤
*4.5 Stars*

 photo cookie-monster-waiting_zpssod1vn7o.gif

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
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 written w
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 male protagonist, 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 can’t s
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’d re ...more
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Reynje by: Kelly
“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 fr
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
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who are not weak at heart
And suddenly, I understood everything.
I knew what the moon had tried to tell me in the woods.
I was not broken.
I was savage.

Have you ever received a hit to the stomach so hard that it left you breathless? In case you have, then you'll get what I mean. In case your answer is no, then read this book and you'll know.

I'm dead, stripped of my emotions, empty inside. My Chemical Romance Defcon 3.
In case you're wondering, yes, it was all this book's fault. This book, and its ending,
Elyse  Walters
Jan 27, 2015 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
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
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
may ❀

This book was recommended to me by the wonderful, Nafia and I’m so glad I read it. Thanks, girlie. <3

Me rn:

Charm & Strange *le sigh* what a delightfully raw, heartbreaking, and strange book I’ve just read. This story is about the constant internal war that Andrew Winston Winters faces on a daily basis.

The book is broken up into two sections, matter and antimatter, which alternate in consecutive chapters. Matter, is the narration of his present life, living as Win, the passive,
Nafia Zalal
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mystery and suspense fans
Edited Review:

“Because blood is blood, and every family has its own force.
Its own flavor.
Its own charm and strange.”

Sometimes I do nothing at all. I sit somewhere just to think until my brain gets tired. I think about this book often. I think about Andrew Winston. Is he OK now? Does he feel safe now? After all he went through I don't expect him to be on the top of the world. But I do want him to let go all his insecurities.

See, I didn't like Drew at first. Thought he was just another
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: year-2016, 4-star
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

"I don't feel the presence of God here."

Charm & Strange is purely enticing. This is one of those stories that immediately sweeps you up into a whirlwind; it has you thinking about it before you sleep, while you make dinner, while you're at work... quietly sitting on the edges of your consciousness until you pick the book back up again.

It forces you to consider and reconsider your speculations as it nudges you closer and closer to the truth.

Kuehn has got a knack for dropp
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
This is one of those stories that's best if you know as little as possible.

We see story in two parallel timelines, past and present.It isn't easy ride, book keep you stumbling and guessing.Is this urban fantasy?Horror? Is everything product of troubled mind? Since narrator is very unreliable it can be confusing and you won't get whole picture and until the end at wich point you will be either frustrated or satisfied but heartbroken in either case.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2018
Well, that was pretty intense. I went into this young adult book pretty much blind other than scanning the cryptic jacket blurb and seeing some positive reviews from trusted Goodreads friends. About half way through, I started to wonder if I had stumbled onto a teenage werewolf story but no.....this is something altogether different.

I don't want to give away any spoilers since this book is all about the slow reveal - but it is sad and dark and beautifully written. If you like YA and/or if you ar
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, 2018
Psychological and sexual abuse.

"It's 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.
Somewhere, somehow, adrift in the sea and far from the stars, I've found faith.
In myself.
And that makes all the difference."
Irina Elena
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
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
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 topics that a
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The story is split between present and past, told from the POV of the main character Andrew Winston Winters who is at fever pitch about his past as much as regretful. What happened in his past is the biggest mystery and it is told segment-by-segment thus piecing everything together throughout the story. This a story of intense abuse and the outcome of it.

"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 that w
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