I have put this review off long enough.
Charlie has lost a friend to suicide and really seems to have no other friends. He decides to write letters to an anonymous person sharing what happens to him and his memories about events in his life. Charlie feels lost until he becomes friends with Patrick and Sam, two seniors, while he is just a freshman. Patrick and Sam introduce him to their friends and they spend the year partying, performing Rocky Horror Picture Show, and falling in and out of love. Charlie falls hard for Sam, who tells him to not fall in love with her, and ends up staying in love with her even past the end of the book. Patrick, Sam, and all their friends have major issues, like sexual abuse, being gay and having a partner who is not openly gay, being addicted to drugs, and having abusive relationships. Despite all the problems, the teens feel infinite in the way you do when you are young and have a life to look forward to living. In the end that is what Charlie's friends teach him, to live his life.
The book is like a mix of Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar, but something about it just did not appeal to me. Possibly it is the fact that it is written in letter form or that I spent most of the book trying to figure out what was really wrong with Charlie and did not get as involved in the actual story. It was not all bad, I think there are several parts with which teens will identify, like listening to a song that makes you feel alive and bickering families.
I did not really have a favorite character in the book. I thought his parents seemed pretty realistic, not bad parents, but not all there for Charlie either.
Favorite Quote: "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."
It took me awhile to decide on the rating, but I think 2.5 bars of chocolate is about right. I thought the book was ok, just not for me. I can see why some people love the book and others not so much. For me it was ok.