Review of Charm and Strange

Maureen E., a library assistant and aspiring writer, blogs at By Singing Light, where she participates in Picture Book Monday and has a great list of Historical Fantasies. This year, she is serving as a round one judge in Young Adult fiction and has listed all of her Cybils reviews here

Charm-strangeCharm and Strange, by Stephanie Kuehn, was nominated in the Young Adult Fiction Division, and Maureen has this to say about it:

"Charm & Strange is a book about hard things, but it’s a book that is full of heart and beautifully written. I never felt that the story was meant to shock; rather, it (like the narrator) hides its moments of trauma. The voice never falters, and there’s a wryness and distance that keeps it from becoming too emotionally charged.

I’ve heard that some readers have thought this was a SF title, but to me it’s abundantly clear that it’s not. The slow unfolding of Andrew/Win’s story may initially set up the idea that he’s right, but over the course of the book it becomes apparent that he is an unreliable narrator, hiding the truth even from himself.

The sentence level writing is also great. Subtle and restrained, Kuehn somehow manages to create a sense of something happening beneath the surface. This is a book that manages to be both engaging and styled, where the written-ness of the book is apparent, but where this did not appear as a flaw. Writing like this is really hard to do successfully, but Kuehn does."

To read more, visit By Singing Light.