Friday, March 21, 2014

Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

This book has accurately been described as haunting. If you are looking for inner trials and personal disequilibrium, look no further. Keuhn does a fabulous job of adding details to a story that circle and exclude, that kept me guessing and wondering and at times questioning myself.  She chooses to not name several key details, leaving the reader to infer for chapters (love that technique....coupled with how she writes). Andrew, the main character, battles with himself until he hangs by a thread. It is only with saying yes to what he has said no to for most of his life that he turns a corner into what wars within. Loss, betrayal, sadness, heartbreak, desolate: this book is all of those things. But it also is a story of survival, of holding onto who you are before tragedy struck and dislodged true center, of resilience. I loved this book because in my own way, I know it. I know what it is like to live dislodged, off-center.  Many of us do at one time or another in our lives, but to live through that as a teen---kinda a different story. 

Keuhn is a gifted writer. Charm and Strange won Young Adult Library Services' Morris YA Debut Award. Not surprising....when you feel bolstered and resilient inside, grab this one and disappear into Andrew's world. It is a rich, worthy read. Thank you to Ms Keuhn for crafting such a piece. 

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