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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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Charm & Strange Hardcover – June 11, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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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 In the first, 16-year-old Win is a withdrawn boarding school student tortured by the “eviscerated,” “partly consumed” body of a townie in the woods just off-campus.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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charm and Strange is the story of Win, a student at a Vermont boarding school who’s a gifted athlete but also a bit of a loner and followed by rumors of rage and mental instability. Win thinks he might be a werewolf and responsible for the dead body recently found in the woods outside his school campus. The blurb doesn’t really tell you if this is a paranormal story or not and this intrigued me and made me want to read it. It really is best to go into this one knowing as little about the story as possible, luckily the first review I read said this so I stopped reading the reviews and dove into this book. And they were right; to get the full experience of Stephanie Kuehn’s novel you must go in organically and piece together the clues that allow you to understand Win’s story.

Along the way we’re given chapters that are flashbacks of Win’s childhood which depicts a very different life than the one he leads now, one with parents and siblings and summer’s away visiting grandparents and cousins. I must say that I really enjoyed the relationship between Win and his older brother and younger sister. There’s an honesty and complexity shown, especially between him and his brother that makes their relationship very believable. It doesn’t take long to realize these glimpses into Win’s past are slowly revealing how and why he became the broken person he is today. But does this mean he’s really a wolf? You’ll have to read it for yourself to find out :)

I found that once I started reading I couldn’t pull myself away; this is largely in part to Kuehn’s brilliant writing. The way in which she tells this story is mesmerizing, she writes in a style that is simple yet full of lyrical metaphors that provide subtle clues in Win’s heartbreaking tale.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. As some reviews have said, at times near the beginning it's hard to follow what's going on...but that, to my mind, is intentional, part of the characterization of Drew/Win: he himself doesn't know what's going on. Or to be more accurate, he thinks he does, but doesn't. The reader has to suspend the urge to know it all, let go, and go along for the ride.

And what a ride! I couldn't put it down. A first-person narrative told mostly in alternating present/past chapters, the two timelines move along in parallel, rising in pitch and clarity, until they merge at a perfectly-timed climax point when both the reader and the narrator have their 'aha' moment. As the veil is lifted on the past and the truth crashes through, so it does in the present. Brilliantly paced, with a perfect and heart-wrenching denouement.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
3.5 of 5 stars
Scrawny, whiny Andrew Winston Winters (Drew) hits an opponent over the head with a tennis racket after losing a match. The following summer, he and his older brother are shipped north to New England to spend stay with their austere grandparents and spend time with their mysterious cousins. Six years later, now Winston Winters (Win) resides at a boarding school in Vermont. He's forever traumatized by the events of that summer, isolating his peers, fighting mental health issues around every corner.

I assumed Win was a therapeutic boarding school, either for something he did or something that was done to him, but he never mentioned the type of school in his narration. Chapters alternated between the events Drew underwent at a child, and Win's life in boarding school. During his younger years, I wanted to give him a hug and drive him straight to a therapist's office. At boarding school, I wanted to sit him down and make him tell me what was real, what was delusion and drive him straight to a therapist's office. I couldn't figure out if he was delusional, traumatized, a bad seed or maybe all three at the same time. I didn't feel particularly attached to Drew or Win, honestly my mind was consumed with trying to figure out what I was reading. The minor characters were hard to assess, because Andrew Winston Winters was, if nothing else, an unreliable narrator.

CHARMED AND STRANGE is a mystery, not mystery as a genre, but mystery as to "what the heck is going on". Even after I finished reading, I still didn't have answers. The last chapters were a small peek into the windows of the life altering events, but we were never rewarded with the complete story of those events. I felt somewhat cheated.
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