I'm not a fan of epistolary novels and had I been, this one would have un-fanned me! Nor am I a fan of of coming of age novels, which this also is. The reason I picked it up at the library was that it was the basis of the movie in which Emma Watson - of Harry Potter fame - appeared, before she retired from real life to hide behind the plastic face of Lancôme. I haven't seen the movie and doubt I will bother now.
My problems with this were, for one, that I can't stand Johnny Heller reading it. His voice is so chocolate-y that it's sickening. Additionally, it's completely wrong for a fifteen year old, and worse than that, Heller imbues the character with a constant sense of surprise - as though every single thing he encounters is entirely new and unexpected. It was so wrong as to be a joke. The cover said that the novel is "performed" by Heller which is an outright lie. It's read by Heller, and that's all it is, as indeed is the case with most audio books, Once in a while you get one which can be accurately described as a performance, but that was not this one, not by a long squawk.
The letters this fifteen year old Charlie writes are stupid and boring and make him look like he's either the most sheltered fifteen year old ever, or he's really a ten year old masquerading as fifteen. There's no reason whatsoever why he would ever have been brought into the orbit of the two older kids with whom he hooks up, not given how juvenile he is. I couldn't stand to listen to it beyond the first disk. Charlie is dealing with three deaths - because one is nowhere near enough to give this thing the angst-y weight it needs, obviously. The first death is the suicide of his friend, Michael, from the year before. The second is the death of aunt Helen, which took place years before, and the third is the long, drawn-out, and painful death of this novel.
Of course, there are other elements - the requisite gay one, and the requisite impossible crush one, with bad parenting and family secrets tossed in. In short there's about everything in this, but the kitchen sink (which would have been the best part had it appeared) and it's far too much of a mess to take seriously. I certainly couldn't, and I can't recommend it based on the admittedly small portion I suffered through.