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?

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

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…

Perks is the most popular coming of age book in recent years and since I write coming of age, his book was a must for me. I loved Chbosky’s carved-out, original characters as well as his balance of realism, romance, violence, and intrigue. The only con, for me, would be the book’s checklist of conflicts. By the end, it seemed like every single possible thing that could go wrong, did go wrong for Charlie, which I found slightly unrealistic, in an otherwise great story.

If you’re looking for a book that will get you all up in your feels, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the one. Written as an epistolary novel, Chbosky’s character Charlie shares his observations on life through letters he seemingly aims directly at the reader. In them, the reader is introduced to an empathetic, socially awkward young man who is struggling with his own identity, his understanding of the social scene, abuse, addiction, and so many more issues that affect his mental health that it is sometimes hard to see how he will continue to cope throughout the duration…

I love The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the way it shows how a depressed person who has suffered the condition since childhood can be healed completely.

The childlike narrative voice of The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a marked contrast to the heavy social issues portrayed in the novel including drugs, angst, abuse, and incest. The novel’s power lies in the way it shows how a traumatised child who had gone into a catatonic state is healed so completely that he feels himself expand in joy as he closes the past chapter of his life and looks…

This is the only title I’ve selected that was written pre-social media. I say this because this is one of the forerunners of a highly intimate, tell-all, the hell with any personal boundaries kind of story that is almost essential among consumers of mass, social media. Charlie, our passive, wallflower hero writes to an unknown recipient. He reveals a precarious balance of trying to live and run from his life, a familiar anthem of teendom, which includes first dates, family dramas, drugs, friends, and mental health. A lot has happened since and because of Wallflower, but this is a good…

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