Book Review: Struck by Lightning

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips, who blackmails the most popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker. At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck By Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school. At a time when bullying torments so many young people today, this unique and important novel sheds light with humor and wit on an issue that deeply resonates with countless teens and readers.

(Goodreads)

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Title: Struck by Lightning

Author: Chris Colfer

Published: November, 2012 by Brown Books

Time it took me to read: 19 September – 20 September 

Rating: 3 out of 5

Carson Phillips is a high school senior with high ambitions. It is his life’s goal to be the youngest ever editor of the New Yorker and to be published in all the big newspapers. But unfortunately he’s from a small town called Clover where the high school is filled with High School Clichés and the former beauty queen turned guidance counsellor has never even heard of Illinois and he’s dying to get out. To escape from his depressed, alcoholic mother, absentee father and that horrible little town. He will do anything. Already president of the writer’s club and the editor of the school newspaper, he is looking for another challenge to spice up his college application. And thus he starts a literary magazine. But, being tragically unpopular and even a little (a lot) hated by the student body, Carson finds it difficult to find people interested in contributing. So how will he convince them? Well.. let’s just say that operation Clovergate is a go.

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Okay so I read this book in less than a day but I found it really hard to review. I’ve had this same problem with the Percy Jackson Series. I read a book and I think it’s pretty cool/great but then I just can’t get myself to write about it. I think that’s because even though it’s entertaining and fun to read, I don’t have a lot to say about it. You’ll notice that I never got around (or I just didn’t do it) to reviewing the rest of the Percy Jackson books. Boo me. But I am going to review this one because of reasons.

So let me just start off with saying that I hate Christ Colfer. I hate his beautiful, talented face. Seriously. The boy is literally my age and he has 3 published best-seller books, a star role on one of the biggest TV shows today and a stellar voice. And he gets to make out with Darren Criss. Hate Hate Hate Hate. Eugh.

No but seriously, Struck by Lightning is a fine book. It’s entertaining and funny and cynical (which I love). But it’s also for the younger readers. I am sorry to say that it’s not especially thought-provoking or life changing. You read, laugh and forget about it. It’ll be a while before I think to pick it up again.

It got a lot better towards the end when Carson turns to look at himself and at his own behaviour. I especially loved the Literary Magazine that was part of the book itself. You’ve gotten to know these characters as the people who Carson hates and is mistreated by but then you get to look inside their minds and lives a little bit and you get to see things from their point of view. That was really cool. A good bit of writing if you ask me.

The very best part is the ending. I won’t spoil it for you, don’t worry. The ending is divided into two parts for me, one is related to his family, the other is the actual ending. When I first saw the movie (which I did before I read the book, yes shame on me) I got so so so so so so so angry with what happened with his family that I felt the need to actually write out a speech of what I wanted Carson to say to that particular person. Do you ever get that? That feeling when you come across something in a book of movie that is so unjustified that you get angry when the protagonist doesn’t get as mad as you want them to? I’ve only had it this bad when I read New Moon and Bella didn’t get angry with Edward. Bleh. Anyway, it was horrible. Especially when you arrive at the true ending of the book. It’s all just so unfair. I do admire Chris for having the courage to end it the way he did.

I have to say that I thought the movie was a little better. Especially since Chris played the role of Carson himself. It was very obvious that he got to play him exactly the way that he envisioned. I think Carson’s characteristics came across better on film than they did on paper.

I rate this book a 3 out of 5 because it was pretty good and entertaining but no more than that. I recommend this if you enjoy a light read to take your mind of things.

I do have to say that it was a quote goldmine.

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