Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Charm and Strange- Review

When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

***Spoilers Ahead***

Well, I'm not entirely sure what to say about this book. It had some interesting elements but I have to say that it wasn't one of my favorites. The book is about a boy named Win/Drew who has been sent away to boarding school. Win is an increadible aloof character. We are never told why he was sent away to the boarding school, but we're lead to believe that it has something to do with a fight that he got into after a lost tennis match (he cracked the kids skull). Win is secretive, unemotional, and the book almost works too hard to create all of these questions that the reader wants answered. I prefer books that don't force it so much.

The chapters alternate between present Win, and Drew (Win as a ten year old boy his full name is Andrew Winston). I found myself more interested in Drew he was a kid who cracked under pressure of a tennis match and started down a road of anger and violence the sporadically appeared throughout his time as a child. Adult Win, while he's being secretive, clearly alludes to the fact that he's a werewolf awaiting the change. Knowing this, we watch Drew as a child and pick up clues to his impending change as well. There are nightmare, he's drawn to the moon, he's incredibly clingy and always wants to be near his older brother Kieth. The random bursts of range also seem to support he idea that this kid is destined to turn into a werewolf.

While we're dealing with this mystery we also know from thew chapters with Win that his siblings are dead (and actually I thought his whole family was gone).

I guess at the end of the day it was a good story with a nice twist at the end (although I did kind of guess it, but this I forgot with all of the werewolf business).

****BIG SPOILER*****

So I had my suspicions that the father was sexually abusing Drew and Keith. There was a scene where Drew had a flash back to saying this like "no" and being told not to tell something. Then there was the scene where his dad takes off his clothes. The book kind of covers it with more the werewolf thoughts, but I had my feelings. The abuse apparently lead to a suicide pact between the three siblings  and Drew was the only one who didn't jump. In the end of the book Win snaps and we learn about his past. We also learn that there were never werewolves. It was a thought and idea that Drew made up to escape his fathers abuse. He then ran with it after changing his mind during the suicide pact that he made with his older brother and younger sister (I also have a hard time with the fact that a 7 year old was able to enter a suicide pact).

The ending was a surprise, but it took me three times as long to read this book because it just didn't hold my attention. I would give it a 2.5 to 3 out of 5.


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