Book Review: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer
I was very excited when this book came in the library and immediately checked it out! I am a huge Chris Colfer fan from his work on Glee and with his middle grade/Children’s fiction book The Wishing Spell. Needless to say, if he wrote it/sang it/acted in it/touched it, I want it.
Struck by Lightning is the tale of an outcast high school senior named Carson Phillips, who is desperate to escape his small-town and rush away to college becoming the youngest editor of The New Yorker in history. However, his classmates are less than enthusiastic about Carson’s attempts to start a Journalism Club and it seems that the only members of this club are those who are so close to failing school that this is their one redeeming notch to school administration.
So while Carson is busy trying to write a school newspaper with a team who can barely remember to show up to school, he is also dealing with a depressed alcoholic single mother who seems to constantly berate him, a grandmother whom he loves more than anything who is in a nursing home and suffering from Alzheimer’s, and a guidance counselor who instead of pushing him to pursue his academic dreams of attending Northwestern, would rather him apply to the local college so she can get points and freebies like a limited edition drinking cup.
All very melodramatic yet Carson still finds the silver lining on his cloud. After he receives word that Northwestern really needs more than just an application, like a literary publication or a magazine, Carson decides to start a literary magazine publication on his own using student submitted works. How does the outcast receive these student submitted works? Blackmail of course. Finding out the nasty deeds of every single popular person and teacher of the school leads Carson on an adventure of blackmail to get what he wants.
It has it moments of hilarity and while I personally didn’t find this to be one of my favorite works, many misfit high schoolers will definitely identify with the shunning that Carson receives and eagerly cheer him on when he gets his revenge. Very odd ending…you’ll have to read that one for yourself!
Have a great day!
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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