Books Similar To The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age story that explores the themes of friendship and first love. The novel, written by Stephen Chbosky, was published in 1999 after a five year writing process. The book was popular after it was released, but the film adaptation that was directed by Chbosky himself in 2012 helped to propel sales even further. Although the book is fiction, Chbosky incorporated a lot of his own experiences when writing the novel, which is one of the reasons why it has resonated with so many readers. If you are one of the readers who love The Perks of Being A Wallflower and would like to experience other stories that can evoke the same emotions, then take a look at the following books.
by Sherman Alexie
Just like Stephen Chbosky, Sherman Alexie has drawn upon his own experiences for his book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It is a tale of an aspiring cartoonist named Arnold Spirit, who has to adjust to an all-white high school after leaving his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Arnold, or Junior as he is also known, has faced a lot of adversity in his life, including being born into poverty, with water on his brain and other trying circumstances. Despite his initial reservations, Junior finds himself actually making new friends among both the popular and geeky students at his new school. However, joining the basketball team and encountering some of his old classmates on the court forces him to confront questions about identity and community. Junior not only has to deal with feeling like an outcast in his own community after switching schools, but soon he also faces other serious issues that many teens can identify with.
by J. R. Lenk
In The Perks of Being A Wallflower the protagonist engages in a lot of risky behavior, such as smoking drinking and drugs. These are all things that teens tend to face while growing up and Collide by J.R. Lenk explores similar themes. It is written from the perspective of a bisexual boy named Hazard who suddenly finds himself confronted with a lot of risky situations after befriending the charismatic Jesse Wesley. Hazard already experiences a lot of inner conflict due to his confusion over his sexual orientation, but the alcohol and partying takes a further toll on his mental health. Collide is a book with a lot of complex characters and difficult situations that many teens will be able to identify with. It is also a tale of growing up, rebelling and coming to terms with yourself.
by J. J. Johnson
This Girl is Different by J. J. Johnson deals with school, friendship and first love, which are topics similar to the ones in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The protagonist is a smart, confident and independent girl named Evie who feels that she is ready for school after years of homeschooling. However, this is obviously a dramatic change for her and it is the social aspect in particular that gives her the biggest headaches. Even though Evie is different from her peers because of her unique upbringing, she is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs. Evie is also eager to come up with solutions for the problems that she sees at school, but soon finds that not everyone agrees with her point of view.
by Ned Vizzini
Suicide is one of the themes in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is also something that It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini tackles. Just like Perks, this book was also partially based on experiences that the author had and it received a film adaptation too. The novel is about a 15 year old boy named Craig Gilner begins to feel the strain of academic pressure after his acceptance into a very prestigious school. Craig struggles to adapt and it begins to influence his sleeping patterns as well as eating habits. Craig eventually begins to have suicidal thoughts, which culminates in him being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Despite being skeptical about the place, Craig quickly befriends the other patients and begin to deal with his problems in a more healthy manner. Sadly, the author of this book was unable to do the same and eventually committed suicide in 2013, which makes this novel even more poignant.
by Jim Carroll
Whereas The Perks of Being a Wallflower tells its story via letters written by the 15 year old protagonist, The Basketball Diaries features actual diary entries by Jim Carroll from when he was twelve until he was sixteen. This makes it a memoir instead of fiction, but despite this and the fact that it takes place much earlier than The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the two books share a lot of similar themes. The Basketball Diaries takes place in New York City and chronicles Carroll's thoughts on his daily life and high school basketball career. However, Carroll also had to deal with Cold War paranoia and other issues of the time. To make matters worse, Carroll became addicted to heroin at the tender age of thirteen, so this is something that features prominently in the book. Years after the release of The Basketball Diaries, it became a major motion picture, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg.