BOOK: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: This is a Young Adult epistolary book whose protagonist is a high school freshman. Trying to reach an understanding of the things and people he's surrounded by as well as of himself, he writes letters to an unnamed friend about his experiences. It's a coming-of-age story that is deeply poignant and moving.

REVIEW: 

There are only a few YA books that I can tolerate, and this is one that I actually really liked. 

I really liked this book because I can relate with it. I can relate with Charlie. I was just as shy and unpopular in school as Charlie is. But I also love it because Charlie reminded me of something important. No matter how much I like being alone, no matter how much I say I love being an introvert, no matter how much I hate participation, sometimes not being able to participate is really hard. I do desire participation with the right people. But I also think that as I've grown I've let go of the need for feeling a part of other people. I don't need that anymore. I do not really desire it all that much either. When I can't feel infinite all on my own, it's then that I desire it, and that's only fleeting. I don't let people in easily, but as long as I have the ones that I have let in, I don't need anymore participation than that with them. And that's the real perk of being a wallflower. We sit back and think about and understand things, because most often than not there's not much more than that that we need.

Other than that, there's so much going on in the book that teenagers especially will be able to relate to. Charlie is constantly trying to understand things. His family, his friends, people in general, and himself. So there's the theme of reaching an understanding about things. But what I particularly liked was the theme of homosexuality. While Patrick feels confident in his identity, Brad doesn't, which gives birth to secrecy and that's more true to life than anything else. The question of commonality was also so very resonant. We all just want to fit in, at least while we are still teenagers. I also loved the way Charlie loved his family despite all their flaws. The best part, however, was that Charlie realized that he did not need to let a traumatic experience define who he was because he was much more than someone else's terrible actions, and that's really empowering. 

The reason I'm giving it 4 stars is because the one thing that didn't make sense was Charlie's naiveté at some points. He was supposedly extraordinarily intelligent but I found a few lines intermittently that seemed to be written by a child and not a teenager. Nonetheless, I don't really like YA books, but I really liked this one, and it left me feeling infinite, like all of the books I really like do.