OCDaniel

by Wesley King

Book list *Starred Review* As the backup kicker on his football team, 13-year-old Daniel spends his time watching from the bench. Socially, he is an onlooker as well. But soon Sara, an ostracized girl at school, breaks through his shyness by demanding help with investigating her father's possible murder. It seems heartless to refuse, though logically (and later, legally) he should. As tension mounts, his anxiety level rises, and The Routine he is compelled to follow at bedtime grows longer and more burdensome. Daniel knows that he is different, but he suffers alone and in silence. It's a revelation when Sara offers him information on obsessive-compulsive disorder and a path toward coping with it. A brief, appended author's note dispels common misconceptions about OCD and calls Daniel an almost autobiographical representation of myself at that age. King creates convincing characters and writes engaging dialogue, and whether or not readers identify fully with Daniel, they will see parts of themselves in this vulnerable protagonist. Clues dropped in the first part of the book may lead readers to expect a conventional sort of happy ending, but the story's conclusion is more complex and satisfying. Written from Daniel's point of view, this perceptive first-person narrative is sometimes painful, sometimes amusing, and always rewarding.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly King (The Incredible Space Raiders from Space!) offers a candid and memorable account of life with OCD, inspired by his own experience with the anxiety disorder. Thirteen-year-old Daniel Leigh, a wryly funny narrator, has a popular best friend, a crush on a classmate, and a spot on the football team as backup kicker. But he also has a secret that is making him miserable: he is plagued by "Zaps," his name for the triggers-such as an unlucky number or the wrong number of steps-that create a flood of horrible feelings that can only be quelled by certain actions such as flicking a light switch repeatedly. Writing is an outlet for Daniel, and excerpts from the novel he's working on are interspersed throughout. When Sara, a selectively mute school outcast, suddenly begins to speak to him, she draws him into a potential murder mystery and becomes the first person to see and understand his struggle. Daniel's pain and confusion at what he comes to realize is OCD is memorably portrayed in this moving story of self-acceptance. Ages 8-12. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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