This is a coming of age novel written by Stephen Chbosky which was published in 1999. It recently became more famous due to a film of the novel being released starring Emma Watson. I have never seen the film but I feel that Emma Watson does seem the perfect person to be playing the character of the main love interest, Sam.
The novel has many of the cliche's that you would expect from a coming of age novel. The main character is intelligent, shy and unpopular. His love interest doesn't appear to have the same interest in him and his friends are all a bit cooler than he is. Sounds like standard fare really. However, cliche's are okay if they're done well and this is definitely an example of these cliche's being effective and believable. Charlie, the protagonist, tells his story through a series of letters which works well alongside the strong narrative voice to make Charlie seem very believable. This helps the reader to become invested in the story and continue to maintain a level of empathy with the character which is needed as he goes through the usual and unusual turbulences of teenage life. Despite his intelligence, he makes many naive decisions and you can't help but feel that he would benefit from the readers advice at certain points in the story (even though most of us have probably made the same mistakes).
The novel dips nicely between being funny and being serious. There is a darkish tone which runs through much of the story and the ending gives some explanation for this. However, the story being so up and down emotionally parallels nicely with the turbulent nature of the teenage years being portrayed as well as the multitude of issues being dealt with. Despite this, much of the novel is also just about Charlie having fun with his friends and the awkward situations he gets himself into or creates are often humorous as well as sad. My only real criticism of the novel is that Charlie cries ALOT. It starts to become a bit ridiculous when another paragraph ends with something along the lines of 'I couldn't help it, I felt myself burst into tears' despite the same thing happening two paragraphs ago. The crying was a bit overkill but this is only a small criticism for an otherwise good novel. I enjoyed reading Charlie's story, the believability of the writing and the relatable nature of many of the situations portrayed meant my interest was well maintained right up until the final paragraph.
Overall, I would rate 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' 7 bananas out of 10.