I’m kicking off the YA Buccaneers’ Summer Reading Challenge by finishing a book that has been on my to-be-read list for WAY too long: Corey Ann Haydu’s OCD Love Story. Corey is a fellow New School MFA grad, albeit a few years after me, and I think this book, her debut, has been out for just about a year. From the first time I heard about it, it seemed like something I’d be interested in: a girl struggling with newly diagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder starts to fall for a guy in her OCD therapy group. So why didn’t I pick it up sooner?
The short answer is: too many books, too little time.
But I’m so thrilled I finally got to it, because it was fabulous! Bea’s voice was so raw and real. It was fascinating to be inside her head, to read her internal monologue and experience her compulsions as they popped up and became more difficult to ignore. Her growing frustration and desperation were palpable as her problems started to snowball completely out of her control. It’s interesting that one of Bea’s compulsions has to do with safe driving, because as the book went on, it started to feel like she herself was a vehicle hurtling down a highway toward an imminent crash. After a certain point, it was pretty much impossible to put the book down.
One of the things I loved most about this book was Bea’s complicated relationship with Beck, the boy she first meets during a blackout at a school dance and who then appears at her new OCD therapy group. The way they carefully navigate each other’s compulsions is surprisingly sweet. Bea’s relief at finally being understood by someone who is going through something similar is both beautiful and sad. At the same time, her worry that if Beck gets better, he’ll no longer want to be with someone crazy like her is an undercurrent in all of their scenes together. Getting all of those emotions to coexist, especially alongside Bea’s various internal and external OCD symptoms, was a true feat. Well done, Corey!
I’m not sure what’s next on the reading docket, but as I mentioned on Tuesday, I plan to check in each week with my progress toward getting a Summer Reading Challenge bingo! And as we get into some of the harder categories, I may ask for recommendations (favorite novels-in-verse, anyone?), so I need you to be ready in the comments.