(pictures in this post taken from Goodreads)
First Impression: I was pretty disappointed with the first CD of this book. I guess I don't understand the wallflower mentality very well. As much as I observe people, I also participate very actively in life. I don't think Charlie would be quite this naive at his age in reality. He might not have tried drugs, but he would understand what is in the brownie he's eating at a party with strangers. Likewise, he would know of things such as sex and masturbation even if he hasn't done them. That being said, I'm at a point where the book is starting to get better.
Conclusion: There is always danger in reading a book about which you've heard a lot. Not if people say it's just okay, I guess, but if they tell you it was amazing and completely changed their lives...BEWARE. My reason for saying this is that I liked this book, but it didn't change my life. There are a lot of important issues that Chbosky brings into play with his characters, and he represents certain high school experiences very well. My two problems with the book were pretty small: 1)When a serious and complicated issue was introduced (such as teen pregnancy or abusive relationships), sometimes it was dealt with quickly and never mentioned again; and 2) Charlie was naive about a lot of things he would have known in reality (drug awareness programs existed in the 90's, people!). These were not very big deals in the general scheme of things. Anyway, this was a good book about being a teenager and dealing with some of the things you don't expect or deserve from life, good or bad.
Recommendation: If you have a teenager or enjoy teenage books about understanding one's life and the world, this is a good book for you. I would also recommend that you be comfortable with and prepared for discussions of drugs, sex, and abuse.