Kuehn, Stephanie. Charm & Strange. 2013
Andrew Winston Winters is at a boarding school, and he's terrified of the wolf that lives inside of him. He is sure that one day soon that wolf will come out of him and destroy someone.
Andrew was molested by his father, who also molested his brother and his sister. In turn, Andrew also molested his sister. The boys decided that they didn't want to grow up to hurt others, so they took their sister for a walk in the woods, knowing the walk would end with the three of them jumping off a train trestle.
Andrew chickened out and didn't jump, and now he's haunted by his past, by his cowardice, by the ghosts of his brother and sister. And he's terrified that because he was molested, he himself will molest others.
This was a strange book. It required a lot of attention, even though I guessed Andrew's "secret" at the beginning of the story. The chapters alternate between present reality and Andrew's memories of being molested. The details are not graphic, but they do tell the story of what happened. I can see why this book is on the Morris shortlist.
Recommended for: teens, adults, abuse survivors
Red Flags: abuse (not detailed), alcohol and drug use, cutting, eating disorders, mental illness - all of these could be triggering to a person who has dealt with them before.
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars