Charm and Strange - Stephanie Kuehn
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.
He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.
Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.
Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.
*Received in exchange for an honest review*
This was such an amazing, beautifully written, emotional book. I went into this book without any expectations and came away completely blown away. This is the second heart wrenching book that I have read in the past month and I'm feeling so wrung out now. It was hard to know which direction this book was going to go in; supernatural or not and I was captivated from the word go. I really cannot stop thinking about this book and it's unbelievable that this is the authors debut novel. Amazing.
It's very hard to write this review without spoiling what happens within the book. It's short novel, roughly 270 pages and very easy to devour. It's written in a way that each alternate chapter moves from past to present giving us an insight into Win's life and what he is like as a person. I was captivated by him; his mystery, his depth. I felt like I knew him by the end of the book and so desperately wanted everything to work out okay by the novels close. Despite his harsh, shut out personality I truly cared about Win. The shifting in narrative stance allowed us to see why he had become the cold character that he is now. It's so unbelievably heart breaking.
Stephanie Kuehn handled all of the issues that arises within this novel with great sensitivity. She is such a talented author and I am absolutely blown away by this book. The ending of the novel left me wanting more. I wasn't ready to finish this book. I've definitely discovered a new favourite author here. The ending wasn't surprising at all but it was saddening at how it all played out. I highly recommend this book but please, keep a box of tissues near!