Do you remember when you started high school? That hope you had about making new friends and a new identity for yourself? Then you realize that no one is your friend, regardless of what they say. (I, um, had a bad experience in high school.)
This is something that's common fodder among young adult fiction. Experiencing love for the first time, gaining a sense of independence, imagining what your future will be like when you leave high school...those usual things. For added dramatic effect, things like teen pregnancy, drug use and suicide are thrown in.
Stephen Chbosky's novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower explores a few of those things but graciously doesn't go over the top with them. Told through the eyes of freshman Charlie, the novel depicts a world of wide-eyed idealism and not-so-ideal reality. (Ah, the teenage years. What a marvelous hell they were.)
In a decision that should be given more often by Hollywood, Chbosky directed the adaptation of his own novel. And man, did he get (almost) every detail perfectly, particularly his choice in the lead actors. Logan Lerman and Emma Watson are great in their roles, but the best work is from Erza Miller. (I just love the complete 180 he did from We Need to Talk About Kevin to this. That's range right there.)
There isn't much difference between the novel and the film since, as mentioned earlier, both are helmed by the same man. Well, the novel is a little darker but apart from that, they're relatively the same. And considering I loved both, I guess this only means one thing.
What's worth checking out?: Both.