A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a realistic portrayal of someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clever writing, using word games as both plot element and plot device, and strong characterizations make for a story with appeal to middle-schoolers who don't need lots of action to keep them interested.
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What's the story?
In an attempt to control her obsessive thoughts, fourteen-year-old Monica creates a game of Multiple Choice that she desperately hopes will allow her to become a normal teenager. Instead, each round of the game leads to ever more dangerous and destructive actions. A strong depiction of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but the solutions are too easy.
Is it any good?
The book realistically portrays the constant fears of someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Monica's friends, siblings, and parents -- even her beloved grandfather -- all love her but don't get it, and Monica is so wrapped up in her imperfections she is increasingly unable to cope with her life. The plot is solid and the characters believable, for the most part.
This novel tackles a difficult subject and does a good job of making Monica a sympathetic character. For a child who is just obsessive, the book offers some plausible solutions; but for someone with the true disorder, the answers here are too easy. Monica moves out of the depths quickly, which may relieve some readers and worry others who are much more mired in their difficulties.