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Charm & Strange Hardcover – June 11, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250021944
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250021946
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-The dark and twisted heart of this YA novel unfolds slowly, every chapter revealing a hint of the terrible secret that holds Andrew Winston Winters deep in its painful grip. The narrative toggles between the present, as Win, a surly Vermont boarding-school student (chapters titled "matter"), and flashbacks to his past as Drew, the middle child between his sensitive older brother and doting younger sister (chapters titled "antimatter"). Kuehn's descriptions of the boy's violent impulses, confusion, and coping strategies are taut and precise. Although it is hard for readers to get a firm hold on his state of mind and character (since there is so much that he is hiding from himself), the other characters, although painted in broad strokes, are fascinating, and readers will be intrigued to find out more about them and how they relate to Andrew and to one another. There's Lex, Andrew's best friend turned enemy at boarding school; Keith, Andrew's protective older brother; and even Andrew's provocative Boston cousins, who seem to have played a role in the unfolding mystery behind his taciturn veneer. Teens who enjoy their novels with a shovelful of gritty realism will find this enigmatic novel gripping. And the shock of realization at the end, when everything clicks into place, is palpable.-Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DCα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Debut author Kuehn comes out swinging with this confident, unnerving look at a damaged teen struggling with something violent inside of him. The book alternates two time frames. In the first, 16-year-old Win is a withdrawn boarding school student tortured by the “eviscerated,” “partly consumed” body of a townie in the woods just off-campus. The second story line follows Win as an anxious 10-year-old first dealing with the suffocating feral feelings that tell him he is harboring a beast. “My wolf is in me,” he says, and readers will turn each page warily, expecting a grisly transformation scene. But Kuehn is up to something far more ambitious here. Her prose butts up against important events time and again without granting us an unobstructed view. Until the end, that is, which is more shattering than most readers will be prepared for. Though there is some running in place due to the alternating time lines, Kuehn absolutely nails the voice and keeps us on constant edge regarding exactly what genre of book it is that we’re reading. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

More About the Author

Stephanie Kuehn holds degrees in linguistics and sport psychology, and is currently working toward a doctorate in clinical psychology. She lives in Northern California with her husband, their three children, and a joyful abundance of pets. When she's not writing, she's running. Or reading. Or dreaming. CHARM & STRANGE is her debut novel. Her next novel, COMPLICIT, will be published in 2014 by St. Martin's Press.

Customer Reviews

My suggestion to you is read this book, devour it.
Kindle Customer
Stephanie Kuehn has shared such a creative story in Charm and Strange, and it shines even more as her writing and descriptions are both beautiful.
Karla L.
I don't want to say too much and give anything away, so just know that you should really pick up this book.
Waiting For Wentworth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jon (Scott Reads It!) on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Charm & Strange is this mysterious enigma where everything slowly, and brilliantly falls into place. I couldn't stop reading Charm & Strange at all and I actually read it in one sitting! I kept telling myself that I had to go to sleep but I just couldn't stop reading. This is going to be an extremely hard book to review without giving anything away.

It was actually kind of scary to read Charm & Strange due to all the emotions it unlocked within me. I've never had depression yet I instantly connected with Andrew and I definitely understood what he was going through. I understood exactly how Andrew was feeling, all those dark feelings swirling around inside of you, threatening to escape. Stephanie Kuehn managed to include so much raw emotion and feeling into Andrew.

Andrew may be a fictional character but he exists because there is a little bit of Andrew inside of everyone. Everyone experiences bad times and dark feelings that you just don't know how to express. Thank you, Stephanie Kuehn for bringing light to horrors that everyone deals with at some point in their life. Stephanie Kuehn has created the most realistic, complex characters that I have ever seen in all of literature. Her characters are the type that don't just live on the page, these are characters that you will keep with you in your mind. You won't be able to forget the characters Kuehn created and you'll be thinking about them long after you finish reading.

Charm & Strange is beautifully written in such an unique, heart-breaking way. This book will fill you with so much emotion that you didn't even know that it was building up inside of you. I loved the literary techniques Kuehn utilized in this book and they were so essential in making Charm & Strange, a hauntingly realistic book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nawanda Files Book Reviews on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is incredible. It's also insanely difficult to review. The story won't have the same effect if you go into it knowing details. Know nothing. Be shocked. Be surprised. Be touched. I'll try to brush over the highlights by gushing about why I loved this book without really explaining anything.

First off, this is a serious, deep thinking book. This isn't another PNR that you can skim fluff. You must read everything. And you'll want to, believe me. I was flipping page after page, ingesting every word as I tried to work out the mystery that revolved around Andrew Winston Winters. That's the crux of the book -- you don't know his entire background but you know it's troubled and something serious happened.

Win is a character I instantly connected to. Even though he's angry and broken and probably not the nicest guy on the street, I immediately sympathized with him. I owe a lot of that to Kuehn's writing. Most male POVs are bombarded by cursing and misogynistic lines to try and make the reader believe we're in a guy's head. That wasn't the case here. The tone, the style, and how everything was constructed just felt like a guy. It's one of those cases like Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson and Split by Swati Avasthi that just exude this male presence without being brash. It felt real.

The book is split into past and present scenes. I was more invested in the past merely because I knew that's where all the answers would be. But the present contains great secondary characters that (even in a 200 page book) felt fully formed. I'm obsessed with brother relationships, and the dynamic between Win (Drew) and Keith really had me gripped. It was one of those breathtakingly real relationships.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Step Into Fiction on June 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Charm & Strange is definitely one of those books where you sit there at the end and go, wow - never did I suspect that while reading. Then you probably find yourself sitting there even more just thinking back on everything you read and every twist and turn you read but seeing it completely different. Brilliant. That's the one word I would use to describe this book. I truly thought I was reading some type of book but it turns out I was way off base.

That being said, writing a review is going to be incredibly difficult because I do not want to spoil a thing. So I will start with the characters. Writing from a male's POV is hard. Not that I write books but I used to write fan fiction and I dreaded writing from a male POV. To make them sound realistic is hard and I bow down to any female author who can pull it off. Miss Kuehn, I am bowing down to you. Win is definitely real and most definitely screwed up.

The flipping from one chapter in the present time to the next chapter in the past was flawless. In fact, when it stopped going back in time I kind of missed it and was kind of wanting more.

There was no romance. There was a lead up to a possible romance but it just didn't happen. As you know, this makes me sad because I like that aspect of a book but at the same time, this is a book where I think it would've taken away from the story.

Win is such a tortured soul; you can't help but feel for this guy. He's a bit of a loner, actually I take that back, he's a loner, straight up. Nothing wrong with that, trust me but the more you read about him the more you realize he's a loner. He's been through a lot and he's still going through a lot. I really liked Win - he's relatable, in a weird way.
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