All member reviews for The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Common Sense Media says

Controversial coming-of-age classic with sex, drugs, abuse.

Users say

(out of 79 reviews)
age 14+
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Adult Written byilovegodsomuch July 29, 2011

Good Read

This book identifies with teenagers because it is relevant to what kids face today! It does not compromise reader's judgment. It instead instills a sense of self, based on choice.
Adult Written byolivialong27 July 30, 2011

AMAZING!!!

This is one of the best books I've ever read. It taught me a lot of important things about life and has a lot of beautiful quotes, my favorite is "We accept the love we think we deserve."
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byJsca August 20, 2011

I've read and suggested this book many times

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a classic coming-of-age story; written in a unique style and conveying memorable lessons. It's better and more meaningful each time you read it!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old January 4, 2013

Best book I've ever read

I was 12 when I read this, and I got a lot of dirty looks from teachers when carrying it around. I'm still 12, and I still don't care. This is the best book that I have ever read. Yes, there is a bit of edgy material, but there was nothing I didn't understand. My parents have always let me read whatever I please, and I don't care what you say about that. I have always been very mature for my age (half of my friends don't even know what masturbation is!!!!) and I felt that this book was moving, beautiful, and overall a journey through high school from Charlie's point of view. He is extremely likable, innocently naive, and a loving, caring person. This book shows the powerful bonds of friendship, love, and trust. A must read for young teens and tweens. And honestly, screw the Banned Books List. I'm a citizen of the USA and have freedom of expression. I can read whatever I darn well please and I don't need some riled up so-called "critics" telling me what is and isn't appropriate for me to read. I don't think we should even HAVE a Banned Books List.
Adult Written byhamstergurl09 June 2, 2012

Somewhat Enjoyable at Times, Highly Overrated

"Perks of Being a Wallflower" is not a very good read. The characters are intriguing at first glance, making them initially fun to read about, but they get bland very quickly. The main character Charlie is pretty clueless, and doesn't really understand how to behave. For instance, there's one scene where he tells a girl that he had a wet dream about her and then starts crying, which is creepy and not socially acceptable. He also didn't know what masturbation was at age fifteen. l'm fifteen now (my profile says 18 by mistake) and I've known about masturbation for years. This book doesn't really have a concrete plot, it's pretty much just a bunch of teenagers hanging out. There were a few good and interesting parts, but I felt like the author only wrote this book so he could write about controversial stuff. It's chock full of cheesy, pseudo-philosophical quotes, such as "At that moment, I swear we were infinite" (what does that even mean?) and "We accept the love we think we deserve." Several elements of the plot I thought were unrealistic. In my experience as a high school student, I have never come into contact with people who drink, smoke, or do drugs as much as many of the characters in this book. Also, the fact that Charlie, a freshman, immediately becomes really good friends with a group of seniors seems rather far fetched. Overall, I don't think this book is even close to being as good as everyone says. I would not give this book to anybody under the age of thirteen or fourteen because of the heavy themes in the book, and because it would give pre-high school age students an unrealistic view of high school.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old March 29, 2013

Perks of Being (An Awesome) a Wallflower

The books is so bad for young people like me. It contained very bad things.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bymovienellie August 7, 2013

mature themes (yes I know, all kids think they are mature)

Who are the "parents" or "adults" recommending this book for under 16?? Oh, I see... if you actually read the reviews they're kids, not adults. Now it makes sense. This book is excellent, but for 16 and up. Definitely older high school (10th grade and up). And don't let the movie fool you... WAY tamer than the book.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byheylookitsgrace September 29, 2012

Amazing yet Controversial Novel

I read this book when I was 13, and it is probably my favorite or one of my favorite books ever. I think that I was mature enough to handle all the heavy topics, but maybe not all 13 year olds. I definitely recommend it to any mature 13 year old and anyone older though. Just be warned, that it has a lot of sex (opposite sex and same sex), language, drinking, drug use, and heavy topics such as child molestation, teen pregnancy (and a secret abortion) and abuse (between boyfriend and girlfriend and father and son). Parents (and teens) should keep that in mind, but like I said, it is a brilliant novel that I highly recommend. It's also very relate-able since it covers so many issues,which I like. Hope this was helpful.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bychicchickari September 9, 2011

Very enjoyable book

Im 14 now and I just started high school. I decided to read this book for an outside reading school assignment. I heard about this book about a year ago when I heard it was being made into a movie with some of my favorite actors and actresses in it and I decided to read it because I like to read books before I see the movie. Anyways, I really enjoy this book. I think most teens above the age of 13 can read this book because they are most likely exposed or heard about the issues in this book and are able to understand them without it being too inappropriate. One issue about it is the main character is 16 (for part of the book 15) and refers to the reader as being older and has most likely experienced or understand most of the situations, so basically the author is implying that you should be at least in 10th grade to read this and I somewhat agree with this because I don;t understand some of situations in it, but it doesn't mean the book still ins't enjoyable. I really suggest reading this book.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written bysorensenh15 May 30, 2013

Controversy of this book

Although there is a lot of controversy with this book. The drinking and drugs is not the main reasoning for this book. It teaches you lessons on life and how to find your way out of the dark. I recommend this book to ages 14 and above for its mature content.
What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byX Men Angel September 10, 2013

Terrible

This is the worst book I've ever tried to read. It's so inappropriate I couln't believe it. I felt sick. The worst part is that my librarian recommended it and said it was so good and I'd love it. I returned it the day after I got it right when I got to school.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bycammygirl159 October 24, 2012

Not "OK" by me

I tried reading this book because I had heard that the movie was coming out. I thought it was incredibly inappropriate, and made me uncomfortable enough that I had to stop. I think some kids more mature than I, and people who are more comfortable with sexual content would be ok with it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byJarz1000 February 5, 2014

They Need to Grow Up Someday...

Disclaimer: I understand that every parent is different. Based on how I was raised, this is my opinion on the book. Chbosky's "controversial" story is a riveting, compelling tale of a young boy learning what it's like to grow up. Now, I understand the some of the nature of the book is sexual in nature, as well as discussing the use of drugs and alcohol. However, I think that this book is completely okay to read for any sensible tween or teen. The idea that kids are oblivious to the ideas talked about in the novel is (in many cases) not a true one. Many of the children I know aged 12 and up are well aware of sex, drugs, and alcohol, and some know a fair deal about it. This book is not advocating children to go out and partake in such activities. Any child with a decent amount of common sense will understand that this is a work of fiction, and while sex and drugs may be somewhat "glamorized" in the novel, that may not be the truth. Though I read the book when I was 15, there was not a thing in that book I was not already knowledgable of, whether I heard it from my parents, my friends, or even from my classes in school. All in all, I don't believe that this novel is horribly inappropriate in any way. I read it and focused on the character's inner struggle with himself, not his drug use and sexual escapades. Many tweens and teens would more than likely agree with me.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written byChristianFandomLover November 11, 2015

All Teens Need To Read This

This book tackles so many controversial subjects. In a very, very gentle way. Gentle yet blunt. Helping a teen work their way maturely through issues. A lot of eyebrows could be raised at the list of content in this book- because yes, it has problems. Problems that teens are going to find out about at some point. This is a good introduction and manual to life as a teenager. Swearing and sex and all that. Dealt with lightly but maturely; a great conversation starter and a truly beautiful book. It changed my life. Made me see the world in a different light- people as people in their own right. Life as something amazing. The world as a place full of darkness that you can fight by being a light. The actual review detailed the content in this novel very well. But I must add- none of this is descriptive or overt. None of it is displayed in a particularly positive light. It is what it is. Your teens will discover these things if they haven't already- and this book can be a boost to being mature about them. Please let your teen read this novel. It changed my life. It is important.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bySavannah-j August 22, 2013

Not all i had hoped

I had heard a lot about this book and how great it was, but i honestly didn't think it was all that great. It basically just went through this kids life. There were some parts and quotes that were really meaningful and made you think, but most the time i was just waiting for something to happen.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byburningupasun September 20, 2012

The Perks of Reading Perks of Being a Wallflower

This book was essentially my life last year. While short, when I finished reading it, I lay in bed for hours, simply reflecting over the quote, "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite." Some people say it's cheesy and fake, but I think that people who say that evidently didn't understand the book. If you truly read it and appreciate it, quotes like that and "We accept the love we think we deserve" will hold with you throughout life. I just re-read it again yesterday, and fell in love with the characters all over again. Charlie is somewhat naive, though charismatic and endearing. Throughout his freshman year, he matures into a more self aware, curious, and "out there" kind of person. Sam shows how, while some people can think one thing about a person, the true personality of that person can be completely different - the rumors can be completely off-base. Patrick is one of my favorite characters, along with Charlie's sister, because it shows how accepting the author is, and thinks we should all be, of gay rights. At this time especially, that's a very controversial point, but I love the way Chbosky portrays it. Charlie's sister shows how important it is to get out of an abusive relationship, and shows the author as pro-choice, which is, once more, a very controversial point. These two are two of the main reasons Perks is so high up on the Banned Books List, but I think it provides the book with texture, makes the book feel more real. Know your child - some people can handle things like this, some can't. It contains a few trigger warnings, though not many, and is also sexually explicit in some chapters (or, rather, letters). However, if you can handle these things, it is a beautifully written book - realistic, where the main character doesn't have a vocabulary decades of years beyond him. Beautifully written, it makes you question - Don't YOU want to be remembered for something great?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byclassygirl14 June 18, 2012

Perks = Perfection

This is one of my all time favorite books. I read it when I was 13, which was okay for ME, but it would probably be too mature for most 13 year olds. There are definitely heavy themes: the main character witnessed a girl being raped when he was a child, his best frind commited suicide, and his friends smoke a lot of weed and do LSD. However, "Perks" is haunting and beautiful. I think that it is a very inspiring story and the teen characters are very realistic. It's hard to express just how good this book is. Take caution if your kid is 13 or under, but other than that, let them read Perks because it changed me for the better and it might change them too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written byPaigeAlizabeth May 12, 2014
Going into high school can be a scary experience for anyone, especially for a social outcast like Charlie. “Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky is the emotional story of Charlie's first year of high school. From new friends, drugs, suicide, and abuse this story is a revealing look into a teenage boys struggle to just fit in during his first year of high school. I highly recommend this book to those who are looking for a good read about relevant high school topics. Many of the themes that are prevalent in this book do make it more of a young adult novel and I would not suggest it for anyone under 15. There are multiple references to drugs, alcohol, abuse, and sex throughout the novel. Most of the conflicts that Charlie faces deal directly with these problems. The climax of the novel comes very late making the ending seem slightly rushed, but it was still a novel that I did not want to end. The writing style of this novel also really help to add to the realistic elements of this novel. The whole novel is letter written by Charlie to an unnamed recipient. Charlie’s thoughts are also very scattered while he is writing giving it a personal feel while also giving us an insight into Charlie’s character. In many instances he will be discussing one topic and quickly change to the next and get off track for the next three paragraphs and while this can becoming distracting at times it gives you a much better look and picture as to what Charlie is really like. Anyone who is facing difficulties in high school should definitely give this book a chance. It is a great resource of information on how to face those real life situations while still adding a bit of humor to the situation. And even if you are not facing struggles, you are just looking for a good, inspiring novel to read, I highly recommend “Perks of Being a Wallflower”.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written bybackstrokermaddy September 20, 2012

Perks is Perfection but for older kids.

I remembered reading this when I was twelve and getting a lot of looks from teachers, it seemed like they were mad at me. I've always been mature for my age so understood the book fully. Still, no one under the age of fourteen should be reading this unless it is fully alright with their parents. A lot of heavy stuff happens and it's not your usual fluffy story for middle schoolers and younger. I just read it again and it amazes me my parents were fine with me reading it! Although it is extremely well written and I easily felt empathy for Charlie, I would never recommend this to a kid under fourteen.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byjustletthemwatchit October 20, 2014
The fact that this website exists is disheartening because reviews like these prevent kids from being exposed to art that discusses things that need to be heard. Without novels that talk about things that make us uncomfortable no one would have deep conversations that change the world. The fact that parents rely on censorship to raise their children is PATHETIC.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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