Monday, 31 March 2014

Charm and Strange

Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Title: Charm and Strange

Author: Stephanie Kuehn 

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery and Abuse

Published: June 3rd 2013, Electric Monkey

Pages: 259

Blurb: No one really knows who Andrew Winston Winters is. Least of all himself. He is part Win, a lonely teenager exiled to a remote boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts the whole world out, no matter the cost, because his darkest fear is of himself ...of the wolfish predator within. But he's also part Drew, the angry boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who, one fateful summer, was part of something so terrible it came close to destroying him. A deftly woven, elegant, unnerving psychological thriller about a boy at war with himself. Charm and Strange is a masterful exploration of one of the greatest taboos.

Because blood is blood, and every family has its own force.                                             
Its own flavor.  
Its own charm and strange.

Charm and Strange was confusing as hell. The book is split into two parts; before and after. In the before part the chapters switch from matter and anti matter. The before-matter chapters tells us of a day in the life of Win on a full moon and the before-anti matter shows us the past of Drew and what happened to him as a child.

Drew has anger problems, ever since he was young he’s been having random episodes of really intense anger hitting him full force and he cannot control it. This leads to him being intensely violent towards people and him being forced to have therapy and continuously being drugged up.

“I chase the night and it’s so obvious. Me. It’s been up to me all this time.”

Win in the present day has been at a boarding school since he was 12 and has changed his name to Win not Drew. He is constantly battling with his inner wolf – everything bad inside him – which has been restless but isn`t coming out.  He truly believes he will transform on the day of the full moon and when it happens he doesn`t. He is helped by an old and new “friend”, they take him to get the help he needs.

“About how they’d died and who I was and what I’d done. About what it all meant. About what I would become. What I had to become. My destiny.”

The anti matter chapters show how Drew was impulsive and self harming himself because he couldn`t control his emotions/feelings. His older brother tried to protect him until he couldn`t. One summer Drew and his brother go to live with their grandparents where they meet their cousins. The cousins part I honestly didn`t get! It was weird/confusing when he told them about his dream - ????

Spoiler AlertAnyway we find out that when Drew was younger his dad used drugs to intoxicate him and abuse him. Ever since this Drew has struggled with drugs and puking and not dealing with the abuse. The confusing part was that it’s not clearly shown and you have to sort of figure out for yourself what happens.

Also Drew changing his name and moving to a boarding school is because he and his siblings were so afraid of ending up being like their father and letting their inner wolf take control they decided to create a suicide pact. To choose death than be the monster they thought/knew they might become.

“Yes. Siobhan and Keith, they knew what we were. What the future held for us. And we all made a pact not to become…..that. To never grow up and hurt anyone. But I wasn’t strong enough. I’m weak. And so I lived.”

“I looked at Keith and he looked at me. I didn’t have to pull my hand back before they jumped. He let go.”

That was their end, but it was not my
beginning. My story began earlier, back
in Charlottesville, beneath the light of
the moon, at the hands of my father. It’s
the story that was too big for me to tell,
the one that grew to fill the depths of my
being and the far corners of my mind.
It’s how I lost my system of meaning.
But I haven’t lost everything.
Somewhere, somehow, adrift in the
sea and far from the stars, I’ve found
In myself.
And that makes all the difference.

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