Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Genres: Young Adult; Contemporary

Rating: 4.5 stars


Charlie is a freshman.
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.


This book is the definition of “tragically beautiful”. Everything about it is beautiful in a sad way. (Beautifully tragic, to clarify, is when something is sad in a beautiful way. There is a difference.)
The way that this book is written allows it to feel personal. Despite Charlie being nothing like me, I could connect to him in ways that I haven’t been able to do with other characters. His raw and open letters to “you” tell the story not as he lives it but as he remembers it, which somehow makes it even more intimate; instead of just seeing the whole day/week, we see only the parts that matter the most to him.
Having just finished freshman year of high school (which is the timeline for the novel), I can relate to the feeling that you’re just one fish in a giant sea. The writing conveyed this feeling so well that, as a reader, I started to feel it too. It’s really something magical when, despite having nothing in common with him, I can feel like I understand the main character.
Charlie is a troubled kid. He goes through a lot- he experiments with drugs, sex, sexuality- and he discovers a lot about himself. If reading about any of these things makes you uncomfortable I strongly advise that you don’t read this book. Personally, because of the way this story is written, these things just make it more interesting, realistic, and, ultimately, heartbreaking.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower stands apart from the rest of YA by offering a clear view into the head of a troubled teenager, and after reading it you will never be the same.

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