Finding Perfect

by: 
Elly Swartz

Twelve year old Molly, who narrates this story, is having a rough time.  Her parents are recently separated and her mom moved away for a job, which is supposed to be temporary, but Molly isn't sure. Molly is participating in a poetry slam contest at school -- her poems through out the book give unique insights into what's going on in her head -- and she dreams that winning the slam will bring her mom home. But, Molly also has a secret.  Her worry for her brother can be all-consuming.  She can only control it by keeping things perfect, that means making her bed with no wrinkles, keeping her glass figurines perfectly aligned (as in lined up with a ruler), keeping her pencils in ROYGBIV order, and doing her homework over and over until she can do it with no erasures, smudges, or crooked letters. When things get bad, Molly counts -- usually by fours.  But sometimes she can't stop counting. As the story progresses, Molly and her friends go through normal middle school experiences, gross school lunches, pop quizzes, new crushes, but Molly struggles more and more to enjoy them (or even survive them).  Increasingly, all she can do is count.  Through a secret Facebook account, she finally realizes that she might have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but she can't bring herself to tell anyone until she breaks down during the poetry slam finals.  Molly's decent into OCD, her recognition of her problem, and her slow climb out of it are told in a very accessible way.  Almost anyone reading this story can feel the fear that might result if their own quirks got out of control: how do you ask for help?  Will people think you are crazy? The story gives readers a fascinating inside look at OCD and a character that you root for all the way through the book.

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