One of those books that speaks to a whole generation of wallflowers and gives voice to their conflicting inner life and struggles. It spoke to me on a level that no other young adult book had reached before or since, a visceral thing that I still feel today. Maybe it's because of this strong connection that I still can't write a proper review without bringing up all sorts of personal stuff that has little to do with the book itself.
This book made me look at my own life (at the time) in the different light, examine the people coming in and going out of my life, and made me see that toxic relationships just weren't worth the time. The simple truth is you can't save everyone, and the people you think need saving the most are usually the ones who need professional help. This book brought this simple truth to light, and I still keep it in the back of my mind to this day.
The writing is superb and, at times, viscerally intense. It touches on conflicting emotions most people feel but don't know how to identify, like admiration and spite, or jealousy and reverie. I'm only able to put into words these strange combinations because I've passed through adolescence and am now an adult looking back at this point in my life with a combination of awe and regret; awe because I made it through and regret that I didn't "live in the moment."
And that's what this book is about essentially: experience life while you are living it.