Review: Struck By Lightning

“Struck By Lightning,” the 2012 debut novel of actor – and now writer – Chris Colfer of FOX’s Glee, is a wonderful young adult fiction work that was extremely hard to put down. It was a great book that definitely struck me at parts… even if the ending frustrated me to no end.

Struck by Lighting tells the story of 16-year-old Carson Phillips, who is stuck in a dead-end town at a dead-end high school that he just KNOWS he has to get out of. He’s got big dreams: getting out of high school and going to Northwestern, followed by an epic journalism career and a job editing The New Yorker.

There’s only one problem: he hasn’t been accepted to Northwestern yet, and his guidance counselor tells him that he needs a hook. Despite being editor of the school paper and on student council among other things: it’s just not enough.

Carson starts a literary magazine at school… but he can’t get any submissions from the students to save his life. And this magazine might literally save his life by allowing him to get out of this town and get to the college of his dreams.

One day, he happens upon a pair of students doing some less-than-appropriate things on school grounds. It’s here where he comes up with an idea: blackmail.

Carson soon finds himself blackmailing many of the students, particularly the ‘popular ones. He threatens to reveal their secrets – from lies about their personal lives, affairs with teachers and so much more – and uses these things as bait in order to get submissions for the literary magazine.

But can Carson really be that unethical? That heartless? Surely there will be some pitfalls along the way, some struggles that may force him to rethink things. But this is his future we’re talking about! His future depends on this!

Meanwhile, he’s dealing with a depressed mother who can seem to do nothing but sit on the couch all day, every day, a father who he has barely seen over the past two years (but all of a sudden returns with some surprising news), and the impatience of hoping to somehow get an early acceptance letter from Northwestern, which would mean he could scrap the whole idea of the literary magazine.

I’m going to be honest with you guys. This book is great. I picked it up because I’m a big fan of Chris Colfer’s, and naturally, I wanted to read this book. (I also plan on seeing the film version as soon as I can get my hands on it.) All the while I was reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. It was a great, easy read that kept me interested.

The ending – which I won’t spoil – was a different story. That didn’t make me happy. Rather, it frustrated me and made me want to throw the book out the window because I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING. (What? You say. But I can’t tell you! You have to read it for yourself!) While the book frustrated me to no end at the end, it was still definitely worth reading, and I’d still definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone.


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