A beautifully written coming of age story, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a must read for any high schooler. Centered around introverted high school freshman Charlie, the plot unravels as he discovers his best friends: charismatic seniors and step-siblings Patrick and Sam. Patrick and Sam introduce him to a new world of emotion, showing him the power and joy of meaningful relationships. As Charlie breaks out of his “wallflower” nature, he discovers his love for music, particularly “Sing Me To Sleep” by The Smiths, and his passion for reading and writing, guided by his wise and kind English teacher, Mr. Anderson. Adding to the richness of the plot, and the power of the novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower contends with meaningful high school issues such as toxic relationships, homophobia, and sexual assault.
I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower my freshman year of high school, at the beginning of quarantine. Extremely powerful, this story reverberated with me because of how natural and relatable it felt. It truly felt like a series of diary entries (the format of the novel) written by a shy high school student, as he experienced the complexity of new friendships in high school. Chbosky does a great job of employing adolescent style, using phrases such as , “I feel infinite” to convey a sense of youth and purity to the novel. I would recommend The Perks of Being a Wallflower to anyone looking for a quick read full of rich plot, personable characters, and youthful, pure style.