Charm & Strange

Stephanie Kuehn

St. Martin's Griffin

The 2014 Winner of the William C. Morris Award


When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .


 In Stephanie Kuehn's brilliant debut Charm & Strange, Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.


He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. 

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying. 


Read an Excerpt

I don’t feel the presence of God here.
I pace along the far side of the river, my ears filled with the hum of cicadas and the roar of water flowing over the milldam. Vermont is postcard perfect. I could stand on my toes and peer over the current and the cattails and see the whole town spread before me. Green-shuttered houses. The cobblestone square. The church spire. The boarding school.
But I don’t.
I crave the illusion of solitude.
The dark-haired girl, who looks like a boy, watches me from the woods. She’s hunkered


Praise for Charm & Strange

"[a] taut psychological thriller...difficult to put down."--Horn Book magazine
“A high-powered voice rich in charismatic style and emotional intensity illuminates this ambitious debut.”--Kirkus reviews
"Kuehn absolutely nails the voice and keeps us on constant edge."--Booklist
"Twisted, and twisting. Relentlessly compelling. Lush storytelling. A must-read." —Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Triangles, Fallout and Tricks
"...haunting...Charm & Strange is a shocker of a page-turner that unravels brilliantly from both ends." —Lisa McMann, New York Times Bestselling author of Dead to You
"Charm and Strange is a story of blood and family and the animal inside—and it’s ferociously real. " — Blythe Woolston, author of Catch & Release

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Stephanie Kuehn

  • STEPHANIE KUEHN holds degrees in linguistics and sport psychology, and is currently working toward a doctorate in clinical psychology. Charm & Strange is her debut novel. She lives in Northern California with her husband, their three children, and a joyful abundance of pets. When she’s not writing, she’s running. Or reading. Or dreaming.  

  • Stephanie Kuehn Gretchen Adams Photography
    Stephanie Kuehn


Available Formats and Book Details

Charm & Strange

Stephanie Kuehn

YALSA William C. Morris - winner, California Book Awards Master List
  • Hardcover



St. Martin's Griffin