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.