Tag Archives: OCD

A Classic Neighborhood Mystery

17 Aug

Summer is a time to curl up with a good mystery. Middle grade mysteries are not like BBC police shows. They are infinitely less gruesome, but they are as cerebral.

The Goldfish Boy, written by English author Lisa Thompson, is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.  In both tales, a person confined to a room, observes his neighborhood, and digs deep when a crime is committed.


Goodreads Summary:Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?

Because it is a middle grade novel, it wraps up happily and satisfactorily.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #3

15 Feb

It’s been a slow reading week. I worked two twelve-hour days for conferences then had a day off in which I was so tired I couldn’t concentrate t read. The only book I read, though not quite finished yet, is  The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B  by Teresa Toten.


My sister sent me this book last year and I’d not yet gotten around to reading it. I can see why it won a Schneider Family Book  Award that recognizes a book “that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

One of the things I really enjoy about the book is the narrative voice. I keep thinking it is narrated in the first person because the details about Adam’s thinking are so precise, but it actually has third person omniscient narration. This could be something that annoyed me, but Toten really got it right.I wonder if she and her editor considered writing in the first person. I’d like to ask her that question.

Publisher’s Summary: Filled with moments of deep emotion and unexpected humor, this understated and wise novel explores the complexities of living with OCD and offers the prospect of hope, happiness and healing. Perfect for readers who love Eleanor & Park and All the Bright Places.

Grow immediately.
Find courage.
Keep courage.
Get normal.
Marry Robyn Plummer.

The instant Adam Spencer Ross meets Robyn Plummer in his Young Adult OCD Support Group, he is hopelessly, desperately drawn to her. Robyn has a hypnotic voice, blue eyes the shade of an angry sky, and ravishing beauty that makes Adam’s insides ache. She’s also just been released from a residential psychiatric program—the kind for the worst, most difficult-to-cure cases; the kind that Adam and his fellow support group members will do anything to avoid joining.

Adam immediately knows that he has to save Robyn, must save Robyn, or die trying. But is it really Robyn who needs rescuing? And is it possible to have a normal relationship when your life is anything but?

Kids I’d like to teach

2 Aug

I have always enjoyed teaching quirky, no-traditional kids. I was sort of a quirky kid myself, so I like to think I have an affinity for them. They aren’t always easy and their lives aren’t always happy, but  I love how they look at the world.   Here are a few of the quirky characters I would love to teach:

1. Clementine, from the series by Sarah Pennypacker

2. Fred & George Weasley

3. Ferdinand the Bull

4. Alvin Ho

5. Olivia, from the series by Ian Falconer

6. Nicholas, from the series by Rene Goscinny

7. Anne Shirley

The newest one I’d add to my list is Danielle from  OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn.


Danielle chronicles the highs and lows her senior year through her  Me-moir, a collection of class assignments, journal entries, emails and letters to the school psychologist. She struggles with all the things high school students experience: unrequited love, body-image issues,insecurities about her  social standing. And this lands her in the school psych’s office and, perish the thought, a social skills class in a church basement.

Fortunately, Danielle is surrounded by supportive adults, and she gets along with them far batter than she does with her peers. Her parents get her and are actively involved in her life. Her Aunt Joyce is the Aunt every kids wishes they had and her English teacher, who seems cold at first, really seems to understand and like her . Danielle even makes a friend of an eighty year old English tour guide. This is not a story where adults are absent, and that is part of the appeal of the book.

The book is funny, poignant and heart-breaking at times.

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