Gloria is the Magnet, a tough, quirky, guarded girl with a chip n her shoulder the size of a barn door. Charlie is the freak, a self contained genius with near zero social skills and absolutely no problem being himself. Both characters face personal problems and past tragedy with varying degrees of success, and both have problems with personal limits: Gloria is all limit and Charlie has none at all. The challenge the face is whether Charlie can break down Gloria's walls before sorrow drowns them both.
FREAK MAGNET was an interesting read especially as I have a tendency toward freak magnetism myself. If there's someone 'quirky' in any situation, it's a given that they will pick me out to shadow. Naturally, my first sympathies lay with Gloria; that didn't last, though. She is beyond rude to Charlie at the start, crabby and snippy.
Charlie, on the other hand, is 'so adorably clueless' (to quote the movie). He is fascinated by Gloria from the first moment he sees her, and has no problem letting her know that, even in the face of warnings from his friend and ridicule from the object of his affection. Gloria eventually caves, of course, as we know she must, only to face her own rejection by Charlie.
This book was funny...until it breaks your heart. That type of writing, as long as the situations don't feel 'staged' to manipulate the reader's emotions (which this does not), isn't easy to do, but Auseon carries it off well. Their coming together, falling apart, and possible reconciliation feel entirely possible and natural. It meant a great deal to me that the end was ambiguously hopeful. Happily Ever After is probably not in the cards (at least not at the point the story ends) for these characters, and the acknowledgement of that felt fresh. My girlie heart, however, was satisfied by the hope the story allows for their future.
This is a three star rather than a four star because of one section near the middle of the book, where there was a definite sense that a section had been cut out and badly edited. Characters change course unnaturally quickly, and there were even scenes that seemed to reference things that did not happen in the narrative, as if they were something the reader should know.
Still, I liked this book, and would probably read something else by this writer.