Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn is such a strange little book. It is only just a little over 200 pages, but it is such a gripping story. Andrew Winston Winters is a young boy who is torn between two parts of himself and between his past and present. It is difficult to say much else without giving something away since so much of the plot is a mystery.
This book might be a difficult read for two reasons. For one, during most of the book involves putting together pieces of Drew/Winston’s past as well as trying to understand if his present is real or a fantasy. The book’s chapters alternate between his present and past. The two stories are told simultaneously and are woven together at the end. The second reason the book might be a hard read is that it deals with some difficult topics. I can’t say exactly what they are without giving part of the mystery away, but it isn’t nice.
Despite those reasons I was hooked. The almost magical realism against the horrors of reality created a chilling atmosphere. The hints and breadcrumbs leading to Drew/Winston’s past kept me turning the pages. It was a sad book in many ways, but also hopeful. I was pleasantly surprised by this one.