Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Despite this book’s intended audience (young readers/pre-teens), I was intrigued with the subject and plot and decided to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did. OCDaniel is a wonderfully engaging novel that offers a candid and moving account of life with OCD. This is a small book but it really packs a punch. Daniel’s candid confessions of his daily struggles with OCD were heartbreaking, but served to draw me in and truly care for his plight. While Daniel’s OCD is central to the story, it’s not the whole of the book, in so much as the story also has great supporting characters and an engrossing, though predictable, little mystery.

From the publisher: "Daniel is the back-up punter for the Erie Hills Elephants. Which really means he’s the water boy. He spends football practice perfectly arranging water cups—and hoping no one notices. Actually, he spends most of his time hoping no one notices his strange habits—he calls them Zaps: avoiding writing the number four, for example, or flipping a light switch on and off dozens of times over. He hopes no one notices that he’s crazy, especially his best friend Max, and Raya, the prettiest girl in school. His life gets weirder when another girl at school, who is unkindly nicknamed Psycho Sara, notices him for the first time. She doesn’t just notice him: she seems to peer through him. Then Daniel gets a note: “I need your help,” it says, signed, Fellow Star child—whatever that means. And suddenly Daniel, a total no one at school, is swept up in a mystery that might change everything for him."

The author’s depiction of Daniel’s pain, fear and sense of weirdness and isolation undoubtedly honestly capture what many children (and adults) struggle with openly or in silence on a daily basis. I think it’s invaluable to have diverse books dealing with real struggles for readers of ALL ages, so that someone (adult or child) facing a personal obstacle can see characters that look like them and hopefully feel a little less alone. Another great book in this vein is Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

No matter the genre or intended audience, I love any book that helps me walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, to see with the eyes of another and feel with the heart of another.