Teen Stuff: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

The novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, may have been published in 1999, but it doesn't look like it's lost much of its controversy or readership over the last 10 years. A CNN article published late last month reported a battle over book banning in West Bend, WI, in which this Stephen Chbosky novel is cited as one of those that a group of patrons wants moved from the public library's youth section and labeled offensive.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is structured as a series of letters written by fictional high school sophomore, Charlie, to an unstated confidant in the early 1990s. In the letters that cover one year of his life, Charlie discusses the difficulty he has making and maintaining friends, dealing with emotional instability, and trying to make the right decisions despite pressure to do otherwise. Of course, within those larger themes are incidents -- not atypical of many teens -- that have drawn ire from some readers, hence the controversy. The AADL owns copies of the novel, though you'll have to jump on the hold list due to its resurgence in popularity.