Summary: Charlie Wyatt has no social filter. He always says what he thinks without hesitation, and if that means asking a woman buying laxatives if she has an eating disorder or telling a complete stranger that she's beautiful, so be it. He wears a Superman suit under his clothes to help him cope with a life of working in a drug store and taking care of his mother, who has Huntington's. Oh, also? He's a genius who has probably discovered a comet and is leaving for Chile in two weeks for a prestigious internship.
Gloria Aboud has her own problems: her big brother died in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, her big sister isn't making the best choices, and her mom has turned cold since her brother's death. Oh, also? She's a freak magnet, immediately attractive to any socially strange person who crosses her path, to the point that she keeps a folio about the freaks she "collects."
When Charlie the Freak meets Gloria the Magnet, his attraction to her is inevitable. What seems a little more evitable is her attraction to him, and yet there's something about this freak that draws Gloria in, well, magnetically.
Yay!: Oh, Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. You really need to manage your mouth. Charlie is That Kid, the super-smart, super-awkward guy who doesn't understand why other people find him so off-putting. He feels isolated from his own species, which is why he digs the wants-to-be-human, will-always-be-alien Superman so much. Charlie isn't a jerk, though! He's a complete spaz, but he can also patiently feed his mother, and his friendship will change the uptight Gloria's world.
Nay!: Oh, Gloria, Gloria, Gloria. You just can't seem to stand out with a guy like Charlie around. Gloria has her own semi-hip vibe, dressing stylishly and writing passable poetry, but between her grief and her uptight home life, she can't ever seem to break out of the "poor little rich girl" shell. Also, I must admit that the Freak Folio sounds like a shallow self-indulgence. The reader never gets more than a tiny peek at it, so while Gloria does feel some guilt over it, we never know how guilty she should feel. Also, Charlie never finds out about it, which could have been a great twist.
Verdict: With shades of Rachel Cohn and David Levithan but with a manic, sad energy all its own, "Freak Magnet" is undeniably attractive.