This book is the book that, if I died tomorrow, I would have buried with me. It is meaningful, innocent, and yet open to the harsh world of high school. I loved it. I really did.
Although it is never explicitly mentioned, it is obvious Charlie is autistic, and I found this an extremely interesting experience. Looking at the world through his eyes provides a slightly softened and very innocent veiwpoint, so shocking points (I won't spoil you) take a moment or two to sink in, and when they do, they hit hard.
I use the warnings below as a warning- not because that I think there is too much of it. There are some rather explicit scenes, but they add to the whole rather shocking themes of the story, and give it a rounded off taste of honesty; Charlie would not have missed them out simply because he felt it would upset or unsettle the reader.
I come from a family that is very open with 'awkward' subjects such as sex and drugs, so these themes did not make me feel too awkward- just unsettled, as the book was supposed to make you feel.
I have already mentioned the character of Charlie, but the other characters are just as wonderful. Having recommended this book to a friend, we compared our impressions. We both found characters we could relate to (in my case, Charlie, in hers, Mary Elizabeth), and talking to other people who had read it, there was at least one character who stood out, who they related to in such a strong way.
Sam is amazing, as is Patrick, and they each touch on different themes of high school life (Sam opens the door to Charlie's final revelation, and is his first crush. Patrick touches on subjects such as homophobia and sexuality, and all in all is a good friend and character)
So, yeah, I love this book, as I expect you will too.