REVIEW: THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

perks

Author: Stephen Chbosky (Pub’d by Simon and Schuster; OUT NOW; Format – Print and Ebook)

Verdict: Lives up to the taglines of ‘moving’, ‘relatable, and ‘funny’. A great book for teenage readers.

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower may have been written in the late nineties, but it’s amazing how popular this book has recently become. I really loved the film starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman but, as with most adaptations, the book is far better.

Charlie, a high school freshman is sensitive and insecure. Extremely introverted, and unsure whether he will make friends, he meets a group of misfits, who soon turn out to be the best friends he’s ever had.

Despite Charlie’s freshman standing, Sam and Patrick (both seniors) dismiss the age difference and the three bond over their outsider status, thus making them Wallflowers. With the help of the older students, and his very encouraging English teacher, Charlie learns about music, literature, love and friendship, and the resulting emotional journey gives the novel a moving and affecting core.

The novel’s fundamental success lies within the fact that many teenagers will be able to relate to Charlie; the new discoveries of adolescence in the form of sex, drugs and ‘rock’n’roll’. These recognisable experiences coupled with his troubling childhood tragedies make Charlie an incredibly empathetic character.

Chbosky’s story is not too dissimilar to other coming-of-age novels such as Lock and Key (Sarah Dessen) or Looking for Alaska (John Green), but nevertheless, we are enamoured with the epistolary style in which the story is written. Charlie’s comforting letters to his ‘friend’ are the reader’s insight into the progression of his life; from a shy ‘nobody’ to a much loved ‘wallflower’. They effectively tell the story and warm the hearts of readers.

Overall, it’s a fantastic read, and I would definitely recommend it to all!

4.5/5

By Danny Andrew-Lynch

REVIEW: FINDING CHEROKEE BROWN

Finding Cherokee Brown

Author: Siobhan Curham. (Pub’d Electric Monkey; 4th March 2013; Format – Print and Ebook)

Verdict: Funny, moving and at times rather poignant, this is a story for all of those who struggle to define themselves in the face of adversity.  Oh, and if you want to be a writer there’s some great advice there for you too!

Review:  I didn’t get the chance to read Siobhan Curham’s YA debut, ‘Dear Dylan’, but it seems those chaps at Electric Monkey have  found an exciting new voice for the genre.  ‘Finding Cherokee Brown’ could easily have become a story of continuous clichés.   It could also have become overcrowded by it’s various themes; of loss, loneliness, first love, coming of age, bullying… Instead, however, Curham has written a tightly woven, entertaining and moving story.

Meet Claire Weeks.   Severely bullied pupil of a wholly ineffectual school, whose best friend has gone and moved to Bognor Regis and whose parents seem not to understand her.   Things certainly can’t get much worse, and as though the ‘Gods’ recognise this a series of life changing events occur beginning with the discovery of  Agatha Dashwood’s manual, So You Want to Write a Novel.

To delve further into the plot would unnecessarily give too much away.  Suffice to say, however, Curham has met the challenge she outlines in a letter to the reader – Cherokee Brown is an ‘interesting, inspirational heroine’, a  victim of bullying ‘determined to fight back in her own original way…’ – she is funny, resilient, but by no means perfect.  There is a lot for her to learn, and she is willing to do so.  She is never presumptuous and is always willing to fight back.

‘Finding Cherokee Brown’ is not my usual choice of novel to be honest but this is a story so much more than the sum of its parts.  A pleasure to read.

4/5