Recollections: Reviews by a Book Lover

Review: Struck by Lightning

Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer
Why I picked up this book: I saw a trailer for the movie and I wanted to see it. Unfortunately the theaters by me are not playing it 😦 So I did the next best thing…I went to Barnes & Noble and bought the book. Here is the movie trailer:

What it’s about: “Carson Phillips is at the bottom of the food chain in a high school filled with people he hates, stuck living with his depressed single mother in a small-minded town at the corner of nothing and nowhere. He has just one goal: escape to Northwestern University and a career as a hard-hitting journalist. His guidance counselor tells him that he needs to bolster his application by creating a literary magazine. Which means he needs submissions. From other students. Carson resorts to the only thing he can think of: blackmail.”–Jacket flyleaf. (Summary from

What I thought: I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read for me. Carson is filled with teenage angst. He hates high school, and while he is very hard on his fellow students, you feel for him because he is stuck in a small town with its narrow view points. School isn’t a happy place for him and his home life is even worse.

The majority of the teens in this book are stereotyped…dumb jocks & stuck up cheerleaders, so you’ve been warned. While I didn’t hate high school anywhere as much as Carson does, Colfer does touch on some aspects of high school which are universal for us all. The parking lot of every high school is a dangerous place, the hallways do tend to smell, and students can be mean to those who are different. Why is Carson so different? He’s smart, and yes there are other smart students, but Carson can’t help but question things, he isn’t happy just going all with every stupid rule. He also tends to be a smart ass.

Carson wants into Northwestern more than anything else, and honestly I don’t blame him for wanting out of his town. He resorts to blackmail to get the submissions he needs for his magazine. While that isn’t the best way to get submissions, he has forced his fellow classmates to write and writing can be cathartic. I like to think that Carson may have inspired one of his fellow students in the end.

Like I said earlier I really enjoyed reading this book. Carson’s quips at his fellow students and faculty made me laugh out loud at points. It may not be the greatest work of literature, but it brought back the teenage angst of high school for me. It succeeded in making me feel for the character, and I enjoyed hearing Carson’s story. There are times when we all want to get away; when we can’t wait for the next chapter of our lives to begin. Some of us are lucky and we get out, but sometimes the obstacles can feel overwhelming. I will also say this…I wish the book ended differently. If you read the book, you’ll know why.

“Life comes at you fast. It hits you and tries to escape and be expressed in any way possible. In a way, it’s a lot like…lightning.” -Struck by Lightning


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