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The Perks of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Book - 1999
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Jun 19, 2021

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Steven Chobsky is an epistolary-style novel about the trials and tribulations of high school, as told by our narrator and protagonist, Charlie. The book is a series of letters addressed to an unknown recipient, and Charlie says he has changed all the names of the people he writes about so as to stay anonymous. This poignant coming-of-age story takes us through Charlie’s rollercoaster of a high school experience, from advanced English to first love.
What I like most about this book is how sincere Charlie comes across, something the movie adaptation undoubtedly lacked. I would say this book is one of the most realistic depictions of high school life I’ve come across; the interactions Charlie describes are so ordinary and yet so compelling. I would give this book a rating of 4.5 stars.
The book does include some vulgar language and mentions of sexual encounters, but nothing too graphic, which is why I would give it an age rating of 15+.
-An Vu, Grade 10

pacl_teens Jun 11, 2021

"Have you ever been truly immersed and connected to a story about someone your age? Have you closed that book feeling both curious and thoughtful about what you just read? That's how I felt when I finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

I read this book when a friend at school recommended it to me. Little did we know, it would become a popular Netflix film! The Perks of Being a Wallflower was published at the turn of the century, 1999, and is not part of any series.

As I progressed through the novel, I felt myself inching deeper and deeper into the world of the protagonist, Charlie. Along the way, I had to stop myself from getting too attached to the characters for the sake of my emotional sanity! Chbosky writes this book with intimacy and authenticity. While the imagery was vivid and the conversations genuine, I felt as though the details that answered the backstory, or rather the background mystery regarding Charlie's mental health/mental condition were a bit too vague and confusing. While I had hoped for more clarity by the end, I was left a little more confused than I'd been at first and needed to ask my friend to explain the context for me. While that shows my lack of understanding in some areas, I was able to pick up on many of the other "ah-ha" moments throughout the book, and I really enjoyed watching the story unfold.

If you're looking for a book to relate to and characters to empathize with, this book is for you. If you're looking for a wild fantastical escape, this might not be for you. I give this book 4/5 stars due to it's overall enjoyability." -Evie, Grade 11

Barrie_Teen_Lists Mar 24, 2021


This book follows the journey of young Charlie through his teenage years. Charlie struggles with extreme mental health issues as well as struggling with some unresolved issues from his childhood. Charlie is an awkward, quiet teenage boy who struggles with self confidence and social anxiety issues. Charlie begins to feel more open when he is taken in by a group of misfits. With Charlie’s high school English teacher providing him with new material to read and write about his spare time is limited but he manages to spend it all with his new group of friends. Led by Sam and Patrick, the two odd stepsiblings from his school, Charlie’s group of friends leads him through his high school years with fun experiences, experimentations, and romances. When Charlie begins to fall deeply in love with his best friend Sam who does not feel the same way his previous mental health conditions make a reappearance causing serious strain on his relationships.

This book is written as a series of letters from Charlie to “his friend”. The actual identity of the person that Charlie is writing to is never revealed in the book or movie. The characters in this book are beautifully written. They are rich with thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we encounter in our everyday lives making both the characters and the book itself more relatable. The issues that the characters in the book face (such as substance abuse, romance, heartbreak, and mental illness) were relevant when the book was written, are still relevant now, and will continue to be relevant for years and years to come.

CMLibrary_Veronica Mar 23, 2021

I am hopelessly in love with this novel. I remember reading it for the first time when I was in middle school at some point - I'm thinking 8th grade. I remember crying my eyes out at the end and then having to go downstairs for dinner and being unable to think about anything else other than Charlie and his story and everything that he'd been through and how I related and understood and just wanted to give him a hug. I have that same feeling now.

When I read this book initially, I was in a really bad place - probably one of the worst places I have ever been in my life and I remember how much I wanted to feel like Charlie did at the end of the novel. Now, almost 9 years later, I am working to get to that place, to heal and take care of myself and put pieces back together that I forgot about or pushed away or that just didn't really fit right in the first place. Coincidentally, my therapist told me that this is the perfect book for me to read right now with everything I have going on in my life and I couldn't agree more.

I love all of these characters, I love the plot, I love that Charlie's innocence just radiates off the page but it's not a boyish innocence that is underwhelming and sometimes frustrating like it is in other novels, but it's pure and he's just doing his best and he fiercely loves and protects those he cares about. It's like his innocence is his love and he loves so well.

I think this book will be one that I tell my kids about, urge them to read, and hope they tell their kids and they tell theirs. I love this book that much.

Mar 12, 2021

This book was amazing! I finished it in a week. The character development in the book is crazy and the perks of being a wallflower is definitely worth the read!!

Mar 12, 2021

Finished March '21

WPL_Erin Mar 04, 2021

One of my favourite coming of age tales and what it means to be accepted.

Feb 22, 2021

Charlie is an awkward teen who copes with the death of his best friend by writing letters to an unknown recipient. Through these letters, the reader sees Charlie make friends, spend time with more people, and begin to come out of his shell. He also forms a close bond with his english teacher, who acts as his mentor. However, Charlie suffers from multiple breakdowns throughout the story that signify his repressed feelings and a traumatic event. The Perks of Being a Wallflower has many heavy themes of friendship, sorrow, and love. This is a recommended book for teens to read.

Feb 21, 2021

Charlie is a 15-year-old student and has just started his freshman year of high school. He is a “wallflower”, very shy but also very considerate and smart. The entire book is about the letters that he sends to a friend. Charlie is suffering the traumatic deaths of two of his close ones, his friend from middle school and his Aunt Helen. He befriends two seniors: Patrick and his stepsister Sam. As the year goes by, Charlie becomes less shy. However, more complications of romance start changing the way others look at him. This novel combines 2 topics in a glorious fashion: romance and popularity.

Feb 01, 2021

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a very important book in my life. It held a very special place in my heart, and also started my infatuation with Rocky Horror. However, upon re-reading it, I realize that character development is weak at best, and that there are several unrealistic portrayals of mental health issues throughout the book.

Jan 30, 2021

Stephen Chbosky’s young adult coming-of-age novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a great book for teenagers. The book is very meaningful and has messages about friendship, love, family, and in general, about being a teenager. I liked that the author wrote as if he were an actual teenager; he really seemed to understand how some teenagers feel. I would recommend this book to people 15-years-old and older because there is some graphic content that I was not prepared for. Other than that, I liked the book.

Jan 06, 2021

Read for a book club. One gal loved it in high school, but not so much in her 30's. It was very difficult for me to read it to the end.

Dec 01, 2020

Wish I could go back 30 years and read this when I was sixteen. Remarkable.

Oct 22, 2020

I love this book. This is one of the few books that I can read over and over and never get sick of. I read this book every Christmas.

Sep 04, 2020

The story is told entirely through a series of letters addressed to “Friend” and signed by Charlie, a high school freshman who is learning about the world around him. Some things to be aware of when reading is that it deals with topics like rape, sexual assault, depression, suicide, and drugs. The protagonist, Charlie, is both wise and naive. At first glance, he appears oblivious, but as he ponders and peels back the layers behind different events, he reveals a wisdom and ability to comprehend things years beyond his age. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t understand some things. He has this unexplainable innocence that is both childish and endearing. That very innocence is corrupted as the story progresses, but that’s the whole point. The novel deals with depression, first love, and a lot of other firsts. It is a coming of age story commonly compared to “The Catcher in the Rye” and is a timeless classic, still relevant more than a decade later.

IndyPL_JenniferW Jul 17, 2020

This book was one of my favorites. The story follows Charlie whose best friend and aunt commit suicide and suffers greatly over their loss. He enters as a freshman high school trying to make new friends while dealing with his loss.

May 05, 2020

It wasn't something that I would usually read. The story is about the high school life of this boy. He's a very thoughtful introvert, who writes a lot of stuff that happens in his life down.

Apr 29, 2020

ask mom before reading

Jan 05, 2020

I read this book 6 times possibly more but I love it. Still can't figure out who the letters are for, its pretty irrelevant but I just wanted to know. I recommend this book for pre-teens and older.

Oct 29, 2019

I think that this book was a very good read. I really liked the way the author told the story from a first-person perspective and introduced the characters through the view of Charlie. The author writes in a format of compiled letters, making it seem Charlie is writing directly to you, which helps with the immersion of the reader in the book. Another way the author provided the reader with information was through poems to help the reader learn about the personalities of characters. The author writes about the emotions that teenagers go through with great detail and I really like how he did that, since teenagers often go through complex emotions in that part of their lives. I think that the author could have done a better job of organizing the events, as sometimes the positives balance out the negatives too much, and it seems much too staged to be realistic, considering the author went through so much effort to make it seem realistic.

I would rate this book a 10/10 because of the authenticity of the book and how deep the author’s understanding of teenagers is. I would recommend this book to older people because of the explicit content but other than that it is a very good book.

Jul 14, 2019

I may be a 50+ year old woman, but I do love good YA books. I've read so many really wonderful novels from The Book Thief to Sold to The Giver to Defect and all these others whose titles are escaping me at the moment. Oh, and all of the great fantasy series like HP of course, and The Hunger Games, and The Golden Compass etc, and Libba Bray's Great & Terrible Beauty trilogy. Anyway, this book is right up there. Charlie is a freshman in high school and he writes a series of letters to an unnamed "friend" over the course of the school year. He is equally gifted and damaged. He finds love and friendship over the year, along with trauma and heartache. His friends and family, like him, make some truly awful choices, but are also truly wonderful people - just like real life. Near the end, when a sense of impending doom gets stronger and stronger, I began to get afraid Chbosky was going to go the obvious route and have some awful car wreck/suicide/overdose/assault type tragedy occur, but I should have realized I was in abler hands than that.

I take some issue with Chbosky's message about "participating," not being simply a watcher in life, but engaging and living with passion. The sentiment is one I agree with, but Charlie was too traumatized to be used as an example.

Really a fantastic book and extraordinarily well-written. Can't wait for the movie.

Jun 05, 2019

I love this book! I totally recommend it to just about anyone above the age 13. The book has such a good lesson and moral. Everyone has something to learn from it.

May 18, 2019

Having read this in one sitting, I was in “In School Suspension”, it made quite the impact on me. This book was given to me as an alternative to read for the class project. Having heard it’s name before I accepted and went on to reading.
To start this off, this book most certainly does what it had intended to. It introduced and discussed topics to teens about teens, things that many people attempted to hide from. Things as such were, Abuse, Drugs, Sexuality, Abortion, Suicide, the list went on. It was shocking really, going on and seeing how books like this really existed. I wasn’t bothered, I was glad really, the world was making in effort to at least show these things.

For an actual critique on the story in how it’s told, I’d say it’s done very well actually. Instead of the usual chapters format it uses letters and parts. Each letter is titled to be sent to Charlie’s friend, and if you paid any attention to the start of the book you’d know that Charlie actually has no idea who that “friend” is. He just heard they could be trusted, and so he does just that. Throughout the story Charlie is describing his experiences in high school for once, giving the stories of other’s that came to him since it was easier than finding the story of himself. In a way it hurt, to see how it viewed it all. Not that it was bad, or crude. It was a description that I’m sure many people going through trying to find themselves would understand. They don’t significant, they feel like they’re in the back.

I swear we were infinite.

Feb 10, 2019

I read this in one sitting. I can't believe it took me this long to finally read it, but I loved it and devoured every page. I did find I was left with a lot of questions though.

Jan 28, 2019

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