RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Stephanie Kuehn

Debut Week Madness: Stephanie Kuehn’s first ever Charm & Strange Event at Kepler’s Bookstore!

Posted on

OMG people, I can’t believe it–only one more day until CHARM & STRANGE is out in the world!!!

I feel so lucky to have met Stephanie early on in my writing career–first online, then in person–and I cannot tell you HOW LONG I’ve been waiting for CHARM & STRANGE to debut. I feel like I’ve been reading snips of it FOREVER; amazing snips that made me want to devour the story in one, big, wolfish bite. *CHOMP*

charm and strange cover kuehn

For those of you who are totally unfamiliar with Steph’s work, you’re in for a real treat. Steph is fascinated with the mind–in fact, she’s getting her PhD in psychology right now–and that fascination translates into some of the most complex and flawed YA characters I’ve ever had the good fortune to read. Plus, Stephanie herself is just an amazing person–SuperIntelligent, funny, practical, warm…AND awesomely random enough to bust out WHAM! medleys on crowded Santa Monica boardwalks at the drop of a hat.

Given all that, you can imagine my excitement at being a part of Steph’s very first event for Charm & Strange at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park (near the San Francisco Bay Area). We were joined by panelists Shannon Messenger, S.J.Kincaid and moderator Kirsten Hubbard.

First, we all met beforehand at Cafe Borrone for some sun and delicious food (and COOKIES, YUMMMM!) That’s Stephanie on the far right:

Cafe Borrone Stephanie Kuehn

Then, we headed next door to Kepler’s, where we posed with our respective books (that’s Steph with Charm & Strange on the far left):

Keplers Bookstore Charm & Strange

One of the first things we did on the panel was play Two Truths and a Lie, and here were Stephanie’s (animal themed) answers:

1. Stephanie was once convinced by a friend that ducks have four legs.
2. One time, Stephanie put money into a vending machine, and a kitten came out.
3. Stephanie was once a member of a band called Kitten Breath.

(So….which one do YOU think is a lie?)

Next, we answered questions from our lovely moderator, Kirsten, where Stephanie explained how she was drawn to YA because she remembered being a teen and feeling & thinking certain ways, and wondering if she was totally alone in her thoughts or if anyone else out there experienced and felt the same things that she did. She also mentioned that she reads a lot in the genre, particularly darker stories. She had the good fortune to meet her current agent, Michael Bourret, at the SCBWI conference before signing with him, where she found herself very impressed by a panel he did with editor Julia Strauss-Gabel.

Kepler's bookstore panel 3

Kepler's Stephanie Kuehn

Then, after chucking candy at random into the crowd (note: when attending YA events, consider wearing a hard hat), we all signed books, and I got to nab my very own copy of Charm & Strange, WOOT WOOT!

Kepler's Stephanie Kuehn & Debra Driza

Grab your own copy starting on Tuesday, June 11th, at an indie or chain bookstore near you!

Barnes & Noble

(A huge thank you to Kepler’s Books and Shannon Messenger for putting this wonderful event together!)


CHARM AND STRANGE by Stephanie Kuehn releases this coming Tuesday, June 11, 2013! To kick off her celebration, today we are featuring a summary, several nice blurbs, a great teen review from School Library Journal, ways to learn more about Stephanie AND a sneak peek at Chapter One!

CHARM AND STRANGE, St. Martin’s Griffin arriving 6/11/2013

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 . . .

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.


“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


“Andrew Winston Winters knows there’s a wolf living inside him, and it is a pure manifestation of evil…” CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW


Interview at Teenage Writeland

Interview with YAvengers

Blog tour info from Itching for Books



Chapter One


I don’t feel the presence of… CLICK HERE FOR FULL CHAPTER


CHARM AND STRANGE releases from St. Martin’s Griffin this coming Tuesday, 6/11/2013, but you can order it now!

ISBN-13: 9781250021946 | ISBN-10: 1250021944

Pre-order from Indiebound; Barnes and Noble; iTunes;  Amazon; Powell’s

Add on goodreads

Congratulations, Steph! All best wishes to you and your debut YA novel, CHARM AND STRANGE!

like charm and strange



I’ve always been very outspoken (to anyone who might be willing to listen) about the huge influence Robert Cormier has had on me: not just in my development as a writer, but as a person. The bleakness and honesty in his books meant a lot to me during a time in my life that felt very bleak and not all that honest. Now that I’m grown and have some distance from my adolescence, I’m not sure his worldview and mine completely line up, but I’ve carried many of his ideas and questions with me as I’ve drifted into adulthood.

For these reasons, I’d like to think Charm & Strange could sit comfortably on a shelf with Mr. Cormier’s work, maybe wedged somewhere in between dog-eared copies of FadeThe Chocolate War, and I am the Cheese. My main character is definitely a Cormier-esque type of protagonist. He’s a white teenage boy—with all the social privilege afforded that demographic—who, for circumstances not in his control, experiences himself as powerless.

As for more recent comparable titles, I’d say Charm & Strange shares some of its structure and themes with the following works:

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King: For the blurring of internal and external worlds.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: For the entwined narrative structure and close, close voice.

The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston: For a look at grief complicated by trauma.

Nothing by Janne Teller: For telling the miserable, existentialist truth.

Little Red Riding Hood: For that big bad wolf…

Okay, that last one’s not recent. But it is relevant.

Thanks so much for stopping by. We’ve still got a book giveaway going on through the end of the week, so please check it out!


Stephanie Kuehn & The Inspiration for CHARM & STRANGE


Not every boy thrown to the wolves becomes a hero. –John Barth


Years ago I read a newspaper article about a young baseball player who, after his team had lost a game, impulsively hit one of his opponents, knocking him to the ground, causing a brain injury and killing him instantly.

The news coverage of this tragedy framed it in all sorts of different ways: the pressure of youth sports, the psychology of losing, violence in the media, and so on. But the event planted a different seed of reflection in my mind, one that—along with the sentiment of the Barth quote above—would eventually become the inspiration for Charm & Strange. That is, if every action is an expression of something, then what are acts of childhood violence trying to tell us?

And are we listening?

This is some of what I wanted to explore when I sat down to write Charm & Strange— as well as other questions having to do with existential terror, isolation, and the experiences of trauma and grief. It’s the story of a boy who knows he’s more wolf than hero, and it’s the story of a family full of secrets and frailties and far too much darkness. But beyond that, what I wanted to tell was a story about listening, even when you don’t understand the language. And the transformative power of being heard.




%d bloggers like this: