Home > Book, Book Review, Contemporary, Reviews, Young Adult > Book Review – Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer @chriscolfer

Book Review – Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer @chriscolfer

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer

Book Description:

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips who blackmails the most popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker.

At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck By Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school.

The film Struck By Lightning features Colfer’s own original screenplay. Colfer also stars in the film alongside Allison Janney, Christina Hendricks, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Hyland, and Polly Bergen.


I haven’t watched the film Struck By Lightning yet, but after reading the book version of Struck By Lightning, I’m definitely planning on renting it. What can I say, I liked the dark, sarcastic humor and I even liked the antihero antisocial main character of Carson Phillips.

This is a kid who has only this to say when his dad abandons the family and his mom breaks down in the front yard:

“Thank God for the sprinklers; otherwise she might have been out there all night.”

Yeah, that was cold, but it told me right out the bat what to expect from the character. Carson is like that cartoon character who had a rain cloud following him around. So, fair warning, this is not a happy book (even though it is funny). Carson is one sad, lonely, bitter kid, and it doesn’t end well for him. (I don’t think that’s a spoiler, since the movie’s trailer pretty much gave the ending away.)

To be honest, I was very surprised by how much I ended up liking the book (given how I couldn’t go through even just the first three chapters of Chris Colfer’s debut effort The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell). That one was pretty terrible, and really disappointed me.

This time around, I started reading the first chapter of Struck By Lightning and thought – hmmm… surprise, surprise… this is pretty good… I don’t hate the character… the writing is far from the stilted and awkward I was expecting… I’m actually laughing at the right places…  In short, I plowed through the book in one go and then promptly recommended it to a friend of mine.

The book is far from perfect, mind you – Colfer has a tendency to ‘tell us’ readers what happens instead of  just ‘showing us’.  Also, the secondary characters were treated pretty superficially (I wanted to know more about Carson’s only maybe-friend Malerie Baggs, for example) and the middle part of the book when Carson has a breakdown of sorts and ended up blackmailing people felt really rushed to me.

Overall though, Struck By Lightning is a book that I can comfortably recommend and not just to Colfer’s GLEE fans. If you like a bit of twisted, dark humor in your books, and you don’t mind revisiting the horrors of high-school, be sure to give this one a chance. Read a sample and see if it resonates with you too!

Note: Unlike Colfer’s first book, this one isn’t for kids. There’s some strong language in the book and there’s sex (not graphic).

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) is available on Amazon, B&N Nook, Kobo books, Google Books and iTunes iBooks.

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