Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Charm & Strange” as Want to Read:
Charm & Strange
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Charm & Strange

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  4,381 Ratings  ·  1,003 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 (first published January 11th 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Charm & Strange, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Emily May
Mar 28, 2013 Emily May 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
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 -
Mar 28, 2013 Giselle rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, arc
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 Aj the Ravenous Reader rated it it was ok
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Sarah is back to reading!

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 for unique
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
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤ (of BADGER and Snake)
*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 we
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
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
“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
Jun 12, 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 27, 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
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 Molly 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 t
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.
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Aug 25, 2016 Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 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 d
maybelline ⚓

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 pa
Nafia Zalal
Sep 25, 2016 Nafia Zalal 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 arrog
Jun 27, 2012 Kelly 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
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
Jun 01, 2016 Silk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This short novel is cynical and harrowing.

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 t
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
Sarah is back to reading!
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
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
Monty Cupcake ☠ Queen of Bloodshed ☠
I'm still baffled by this book and processing it all. It's a good bafflement, by the way.

I'm going to try to write a review that doesn't spoil anything, so I won't really be telling you any details about the book.

This book is, as another reviewer said, a complete mindfuck. You think it's about one thing until almost the end, but you're not sure until the end.

While this book is depressing and full of mind fuckery, it's a very good book. It's well written, very twisty, full of mystery (yes, I rh
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Books On Tap Book...: Discussion Quetion 1 5 Oct 31, 2016 12:00PM  
2015 Morris Award Recipient: Charm & Strange 1 7 Oct 30, 2015 09:07PM  
The Perks Of Bein...: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn - July 2015 7 70 Jul 30, 2015 06:13PM  
Free Books, .99 &...: UnderHyped Readathon Giveaway! 4 51 Jul 19, 2014 01:59PM  
2014 Hub Reading ...: Charm & Strange 14 105 Apr 09, 2014 07:55PM  
  • Teeth
  • Brianna on the Brink
  • Sex & Violence
  • Bruised
  • Insomnia (The Night Walkers, #1)
  • 17 & Gone
  • Black Helicopters
  • Uses for Boys
  • Fault Line
  • Wild Awake
  • Tides
  • Underneath
  • Canary
  • The S-Word
  • Since You Asked
  • One (One Universe, #1)
  • Mortal Fire
  • Vengeance Bound
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...

Share This Book

“I am both ever evolving and ever decaying.” 25 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.” 19 likes
More quotes…