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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Finding Perfect is the story of a 12-year-old girl who starts to show obsessive-compulsive tendencies after her mother moves out of the country for a job. The novel destigmatizes anxiety disorders and will help inspire empathy for people who suffer from them. Narrator Molly is a good role model at home and at school, and she starts to learn how to accept the lack of perfection in herself and the world around her. There are a couple of mentions of blood, including a few times when Molly bites the inside of her mouth. There are some brief boy-girl "liking" dynamics, and one middle schooler claims she kissed a boy more than once. Lots of positive role models for family and friendship dynamics, in good times and in bad.
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What's the story?
After her mom moves to another country to take a job for a year, 12-year-old Molly becomes convinced that FINDING PERFECT balance in the things around her is the only way to keep her family safe. This means her pencils have to be sharp, her erasers clean, her markers in rainbow order, and her collection of glass figurines aligned with a ruler. As she starts to suspect that her mother may have meant to move away for more than just a year, Molly's less and less able to control her compulsions, and more afraid people will think she's crazy and won't want anything to do with her. But what if she is crazy? How can she get the help she so desperately needs?
Is it any good?
Author Elly Swartz's rock-solid voice for 12-year-old Molly creates a compelling and likeable hero whose struggle with anxiety will really resonate with tweens. They'll learn a lot about what it's like to suffer with OCD, and they'll be encouraged to see the person and not the disorder.
The well-structured story keeps the pages turning as Molly negotiates the hazards of school and home life. Tweens will find a lot of hope during a time of big changes in their own lives as Molly learns that she'll be OK even without Finding Perfect, and how to live in a world where so many things are outside her control.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Finding Perfect shows what it's like to have OCD. Do you think Molly is crazy? Do you think you could be friends with someone who has OCD?
Why was it so hard for Molly to get help before things got out of control? Have you ever needed help but didn't know how, or want, to ask for it? What happened?
Did you like Molly's poems? Why, or why not? What is slam poetry?
- Author: Elly Swartz
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Middle School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date: October 18, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.