What inspires books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a question that the author is grappling with in his or her own mind. ‘Why do good people allow themselves to be treated so badly?’ asks author Stephen Chbosky in this novel, and he responds, ‘We accept the love we think we deserve.’
Not your typical young adult novel, this story of growing up explores the effects of child abuse and neglect, as well as death, suicide, and mental illness in a raw and unvarnished way. As a result, this book was banned from many high schools and libraries in the United States.
Our protagonist, Charlie, writes letters to no one in particular about his experiences as a freshman in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This book appears to have been written from the author’s own personal experiences.
Although his English teacher initially helps motivate Charlie’s writing, Patrick and Sam enter the picture and forever alter his outlook on life. Charlie’s feelings for Sam are the underlying theme of the story.
Logan Lerman played Charlie and Emma Watson played Sam in Stephen Chbosky’s 2012 film adaptation of the novel.
More books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower are right here; I’ve looked for some new releases as well as some classics to add to your library.
6 Books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Catcher in the Rye, by J D Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye is a great choice if you’re looking for books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Another J. D. Salinger story that was banned in some areas because of its explicit depiction of sex and profanity, Chbosky’s novel has been compared. During their adolescent years, the protagonists of both books struggle with sanity and judgment.
It is suggested that Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, is narrating his story from a psychiatric hospital. He recounts the events of two days in December of the year prior.
For some reason, this book was banned in its day even though it was written back in the ’50s. Despite the gloomy nature of the subject matter, there are a few moments of lightheartedness to be found.
One interesting tidbit: David Chapman had this book on him when he killed John Lennon.
For those who enjoy books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, pick up a copy of The Catcher in the Rye.
Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Looking for Alaska by John Green, the author of The Fault in Our Stars, is another book on the ‘banned’ list, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Parental anxiety was high around the world because of some explicit scenes, controversial religious views, and liberal use of profanity in this modern classic’. Every single one of the things that will make it appealing to today’s generation of young adults!
Pudge, the reclusive alter ego of Miles Halter, is fascinated by the Great Perhaps and how to move forward in life when there are no answers. As he travels, he meets several people, including Alaska, a friendly and outgoing young woman with her fair share of quirks.
Pudge recounts his journey of self-discovery, covering everything from romance to religion and everything in between.
So, if you enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you might enjoy Looking for Alaska as well.
All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven
A tragic car accident claimed the life of Violet’s younger sister, and now she is haunted by the guilt of being a survivor.
Is Theodore the weirdo of the school? An unhealthy preoccupation with death plagues him as a result of his (undiagnosed) bipolar affective disorder.
At the same time, they both scale the school’s clock tower with the intention of leaping to their deaths.
They begin a journey of love and support after talking each other out of suicide.
You’ll be gripping the edges of the book / e-reader until the very end of this rollercoaster of emotions.
Theodore is said to have been based on a boy Niven had a crush on.
It’s safe to say that if you enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you’ll love All the Bright Places.
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
My recommendation for a new book to read after finishing The Perks of Being a Wallflower is The Secret Life of Bees. Beautiful tale of one young woman’s journey through adversity and racism in order to find the love she longs for.
In 1964, South Carolina was the setting. As a child, Lily Owens blames herself for the death of her mother. A black servant named Rosaleen is her only friend and mother figure; her father is aloof and distant.
Lily decides to flee with Rosaleen after she becomes the victim of a racial incident. They set out for Tiverton, hoping to learn more about Lily’s mother. They are taken in by a group of three black sisters who keep bees in their backyard.
Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this book will take you on an emotional roller coaster.
The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly
This book is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower in that it’s both strange and wonderful. When a twelve-year-old boy’s mother dies of cancer during World War II, he withdraws into himself.
After moving in with his father, David spends most of his time in the attic reading and listening to the fairy tales on the walls.
He is taken to a fantasy world where mythical creatures rule the roost. To return to his portal, David eventually tried, but it didn’t work; instead, he went in search of the distant king and The Book of Lost Things, in order to return to his portal.
As is common in fairytales, the story’s central themes revolve around cruelty, death, and greed. Get your freak on with this unique tale by John Connolly if you’re looking for books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt
Tell the Wolves I’m Home, a novel about the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, was released in 2012. For the gay community, whose predilections were initially blamed for the epidemic, this was a particularly difficult time.
Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, June Elbus’ uncle Finn is a renowned painter and the keeper of her heart, but he is also dying of AIDS in this novel. His cause of death has not been revealed to June. A portrait of June and her sister Greta, painted as his final work, hangs in the gallery.
She runs into Finn’s ex-boyfriend Toby at the funeral. They strike up a friendship despite her mother’s objections, fulfilling a final wish of Finn’s.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home, a painting by Finn, is a central part of this story, along with the sentiments of tolerance, compassion and self-discovery that it conveys.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home is an excellent follow-up to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.