The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Stephen Chbosky,

Book cover of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Book description

A modern cult classic, a major motion picture and a timeless bestseller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story.

Charlie is not the biggest geek in high school, but he's by no means popular.

Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years, caught between trying to live…

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Why read it?

15 authors picked The Perks of Being a Wallflower as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower as one of my choices for Banned Books Week 2023. I didn’t expect to fall so far in love with the characters that the rest of my world fell away while I was reading it. I stayed up way past my bedtime.

I kept thinking about it during my waking hours. And when it ended, I couldn’t imagine starting another book right away. I ached to know what happened to Charlie and my literary “friends.” I wanted to follow Charlie through high school and college, grow into adulthood, and learn the lessons…

Let’s just be honest here: We know we all love this book because of the feels that we experience once that twist hits us, right?

I don’t want to ruin it if you’re not familiar, but once Charlie comes to terms with this very important moment, we empathize with his complicated feelings and we support his recovery, even if it means that certain people in his life will be looked at in a very negative way.

This book reminds us of how important it is to heal, even if the things we have to do to get there may not…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower makes you feel young again. It encapsulates the magic of youth, the struggle of youth, and the promise of youth.

I read it when young, scribbling notes in the margins for friends while reading the notes others had written for me. The novel asks you to become part of it simply by the narrator speaking directly to the reader, confiding in you.

Much more than a singular perspective, the story feels infinite, easily speaking to everyone in its specificity and showcased complexity featured in the idea, “…I want you to know that I…

From Douglas' list on feeling magical without actual magic.

As a debut novelist, I face this nagging sense of obligation to prove myself to the world as a Serious Writer And Thinker, and thus I was initially a bit sheepish about recommending a young adult title here.

It’s in the service of the very unabashed earnestness this list commemorates that I’m forcing myself to get over it and say the following: there are few elegies to the wistfulness of adolescence more poignant or haunting than The Perks of Being A Wallflower.

I read it for the first time as a seventh grader in 2006 and probably six more times…

From Nash's list on teenage sentimentality.

Once I read about Charlie, the main character in Stephen Chbosky’s novel, I was intrigued how a shy, bookish kid like me could become so wild and crazy in his first year of high school. Charlie is the main character who at fifteen writes about his freshman experience not unlike a diary. The story is written through Charlie’s detailed, and very personal letters. School begins with him being bullied. He finds it difficult to make friends, but finally there’s a boy he can relate to who is gay and who introduces Charlie to his sister, Sam. Love takes hold of…

Written wholly in letters to an anonymous “friend”, Perks tells the story of Charlie, a fragile young man on the fringes of life, trying to navigate high school in the wake of tragedy and trauma. We never know who Charlie is writing to, but that doesn’t matter. He takes on a profoundly moving journey to the edges of the kind of darkness that can often lead to choices that can’t be taken back and which haunt families forever. Along with new friends, a passion for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and a love of mix-tapes, I couldn’t put this…

From Dawn's list on YA with unusual formats.

While I have no desire to return to being a naïve teenager, Charlie’s wide-eyed tale of adolescence tugged at the sentimentalist in me. Charlie’s life was less than perfect but he kept going back out into the world to discover new, wondrous things. Sometimes those adventures led him upward and sometimes they led him downward. Adults are not immune to ups and downs. I certainly am not. Charlie’s tale did remind me of some of my own teenage tales. Like the time I came in last at a track race and fell down and cried because I thought it was…

Each page contains many ups and downs, and it is the true definition of emotional. I have felt alongside every character, and Stephen Chbosky does the best job of making sure that readers understand the message: you are not alone. Yes, the characters in this book made me cry, but they also gave me a mix of great joy. My heart was full to the brim of adoration for Charlie, the shy wallflower, and all of his ambitious friends. They seemed to carry me along for the bumpy ride of high school and help me learn more about the many…

It’s a classic for a reason! But I really love this story. Being a freshman in high school is challenging enough, and having a few upperclassmen friends to guide you through it can be really formative and life-changing. I think we all have had a Patrick and Sam in our high school experience! I loved reading about Charlie slowly coming into himself while also slowly uncovering his own past. It’s a story that’s heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and absolutely essential reading.

Perks always will have a place in my heart. Stephen Chbosky made some against the grain choices with this one: his topics were controversial, it was released by MTV Books, and it is in epistolary (journal) format. What he did that I respect most is he held onto his book and eventually adapted it into a movie!

This coming-of-age story is one of the modern greats and was the piece of literature that inspired my debut novel! My main character Someone and Charlie aren’t so different…

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