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OCD Love Story Hardcover – July 23, 2013
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–Bea, a high school senior, struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder. She wants to think of herself as a regular teen with a few interesting quirks, but as readers discover more about her past, it is clear that her problems run deeper than she is willing to admit. She falls for Beck, a boy in her therapy group who washes himself constantly and must do everything in groups of eight. Beck likes her, but he doesn't know that she spends her spare time eavesdropping on a musician and his wife, often following them back to their apartment building. Haydu has created a believable protagonist in this beautifully written first novel; however, it is sometimes difficult to view her with sympathy rather than alarm as her stalking behaviors escalate. And she is terrified that she will hurt someone, either by accident with her car or on purpose with a knife or other sharp object. Bea's head is constantly buzzing with intrusive thoughts and the irresistible need to perform the rituals that ease her anxieties. Revelations about both teens suggest that traumatic events in their lives triggered their OCD. Therapy figures prominently as Bea has breakthroughs and learns to manage her condition, but despite an upbeat conclusion, there are no magical answers. Beck and Bea's romance is sweet, though troubled. While this is not an easy story to read, teens fascinated by mental-health issues or unusual romances will find it hard to put down.–Miranda Doyle, Lake Oswego School District, ORα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
After the lights go out at the high-school dance, Bea discovers fellow-student Beck in the dark, and she talks him through his panic attack. The teens meet again in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) group therapy. Beck is a repeater and a germaphobe—textbook OCD. Initially, though, readers might question whether Bea needs intense therapy or if hers is a case of her parents’ paranoia about behavior. In her debut novel, Haydu gradually reveals Bea’s anxious perspective and obsessions through therapy sessions and her relationship with her best friend, Harvard-bound Lisha. Readers will easily accept what might, in the hands of a less skillful writer, seem like plot conveniences and connect with the well-drawn Bea and Beck. A compelling portrait of teen behavioral disorders and the struggle to overcome or, at the very least, balance them. Grades 8-12. --Gail Bush
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High school senior Bea suffers from a compulsive form of OCD that, among other things, causes her to fixate on a person and stalk him. Now, in addition to the man she's stalking, she's dating a guy from her OCD support group and by dating, I mean they're enabling each other to fall deeper into their obsessions. Bea falls deeper and deeper into dangerous territory and nobody seems to be able to stop her, least of all herself.
OCD: A LOVE STORY is not a love story, the friendship between Beck and Bea is much more prominent that the light romance between the too. If anything, OCD: A LOVE STORY read more like a thriller. I found myself holding my breath, anticipating when Bea would be caught stalking, by whom, and how the fallout would pan out. I had to take frequent breaks to catch my breath, the tension permeated page after page. I actually felt Bea's anxiety jump off the pages and into my gut.
Corey Ann Haydu gave Bea a fantastic, realistic voice, not unlike other OCD teens I've treated. I do wish she would have gone into more details about her previous stalking episode and the incident that was the impetus of her anxiety. While Bea is annoying, often inappropriate, selfish and narcissistic some of that can be attributed to her anxiety and OCD. I hated how she treated her best friend, even more so because she knew she acted unkindly, but rather than engage with Dr Pat and tell the truth, she lied in order go continue her behaviors. Bea was unlikable more than sympathetic for most of the novel. I rooted her to have consequences, not just help for her OCD because of how often she crossed the line in hurtful ways.
I wish the stalking incident was set up and resolved more realistically. Most therapists gave white noise machines and don't put chairs so close to the door that would allow the next client to hear entire sessions as clearly to write take such copious notes. Most therapists would have an extra eye on a client with a history of stalking. Also, I don't know of any therapists who have their adult clients call them Dr ______ (first name), kids and teens, maybe, but not adults.
THEMES: OCD, mental illness, anxiety, stalking, romance, friendship
OCD: A LOVE STORY accurately portrays the tension and anxiety sufferers experience and I'd recommend it to teens and young adult clients with anxiety and OCD.
Yet, it's because OCD Love Story depicts something so raw and real that I feel it's really important for readers to encounter Bea's story for themselves. Real people suffer from conditions like Bea's every day, and the novel goes a long way towards helping readers understand exactly what it could be like for them. While there are varying symptoms or levels of these conditions, this novel encourages a better understanding and true empathy for those who battle mental illnesses.
Even though she's also the source of my discomfort, Bea is also the reason I kept on reading OCD Love Story. Little glimpses into her past, into her character, into her vulnerabilities, all of that really helped me engage with her as a character. It made me want her to find solid footing among the tumult of her OCD and the hard stuff she was afraid to face, even when she was trying my patience with her choices. While it's not something that can be cured completely, OCD can be managed (based on what is mentioned in this novel, as well as what I know from real life) and I wanted that for her.
There are a lot of things going on in OCD Love Story, but to me, it's heavily focused on Bea being diagnosed with OCD and dealing with it. What stands out most in my mind is that, even though the story is messy and riddled with uncomfortable moments, it reads so authentically. In the end, Haydu's story is a testament to one simple truth: life goes on, no matter what you have to deal with in your every day. It's a hard truth, but a good one to be faced with, and I believe it will inspire readers to face the fact that life as we know it might not always be perfect - and we should persevere anyway.
It will challenge you. It will make you think. It will drop-kick you out of your comfort zone. But OCD Love Story is worth all of the time you'll spend reading it, and I sincerely hope you'll give it a shot.
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Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary
At A Glance
Love Triangle/Insta Love/Obsession?Read more