Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bookanista Review: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

So funny story -- immediately prior to reading this novel, I was chatting with several bookish friends about how I was mostly burnt out on the YA contemporary issue novel -- those dealing with abuse, self-harm, incest, drug use, etc. I tend to gravitate towards the sunny, carefree side of contemporary YA, probably to counterbalance all the dark science fiction and dystopians I read.

CHARM & STRANGE is a strange case, however. It's not immediately clear what genre you're getting. Is it a YA contemporary featuring a male protagonist with some serious mental health issues or is it a paranormal about werewolves living among us? (In this set-up, it reminded me a lot of Justine Larbalestier's LIAR, except that Andrew isn't so forthright or cheeky about his possible unreliable narrator status).

What is clear is that Andrew needs to excise his demons. The action in the present takes place over the course of one night at a party in the woods with Andrew's boarding school classmates, and is interspersed with flashbacks of his family life.  The novel cleverly plays with the idea that we often need fiction to be able to deal with fact and keeps you guessing and compulsively reading to find out what is fact and what is fiction in Andrew's life.

CHARM & STRANGE is available now. Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: Netgalley

See what the other Bookanistas are excited about this week:

Shelli Johannes-Wells gives cover love to FAKING NORMAL

Stasia Ward Kehoe delves into DANCER, DAUGHTER, TRAITOR, SPY by Elizabeth Kiem

Elana Johnson and Nikki Katz adore THIS IS W.A.R. by Lisa & Laura Roecker

Gretchen McNeil is wowed by THE WIG IN THE WINDOW by Kristen Kittscher

Katy Upperman praises WORST CASE OF PASKETTI-ITIS by Kris Asselin


Cecelia said...

Oh, but did you like it? I've seen this one getting some buzz among the very discerning bloggers I follow, so I'm interested... but not sure if I'm interested enough.

Liviania said...

This one sounds very nifty, but like Cecelia, I haven't heard much on whether people actually liked it.

The Cover Contessa said...

Hmm...haven't heard much about this one. Haven't seen it around. Will have to keep a watch out for it to see what others think, as well.

Unknown said...

What an interesting sounding novel! I am in the minority here because I actually wasn't a huge fan of Liar and its unreliable narration, but maybe I'll give this one a shot.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Interesting you should ask if liked it, because while this book is highly impressive, I'd hesitate to call it "enjoyable" exactly.

I would recommend it, however, to those who seek out dark psychological novels.