Books: Reads Like Teen Spirit

Edgy fiction is making literature cool again

Charlie has issues. His favorite aunt passed away, and his best friend just committed suicide. The girl he loves wants him as a friend; a girl he does not love wants him as a lover. His 18-year-old sister is pregnant. The LSD he took is not sitting well. And he has a math quiz looming. Charlie is the high school freshman protagonist of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, a 29-year-old screenwriter. Published by MTV, it is one of a new generation of novels geared toward teenagers, for whom such subjects are increasingly just part of growing up.

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