Lauren Roedy Vaughn
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
The CoverI really like this cover, it looks fun and original, and I like that you can't see the girl's face but you do learn that she has bright unruly curls which reminds me of Merida from Brave, which can obviously only be a good thing. I also like the combination of yellow and purple, which is not the most common or obvious combination I guess. Everything about this cover screams 'fun book' but don't be fooled because as you can imagine the fact that OCD is mentioned on the title means it won't only be funny.
The StoryDanielle Levine is somebody who doesn't necessarily fit in with other kids her age, and even at the alternative high school she attends, she is considered to be 'special' because of her OCD and non-existent social skills. Trying to get through life, she writes critical, sarcastic and often obscene essays for her English class, which eventually gets her in trouble and she is forced to go see the school psychologist and attend a social skills class. Here she meets Daniel, another social misfit, obsessed with the movie The Big Lebowski (the title gets its "dude" part from the movie). Danielle, who before didn't really want to get involved with other people, caves and starts to hang out with Daniel.
I really liked this one a lot, it was not only a touching story of a girl in high school with several problems to work through but it was also a tale about friendship and a girl who has problems trying to get through high school. It's a change to read about a girl with OCD and social anxieties, who is not your regular popular girl and I think even if you don't have OCD or social anxieties, many readers will be able to connect with Danielle and her fears and problems. Besides being touching and also heartbreaking at times, this books is also funny and quirky in a way. Danielle is a very funny characters and since she is the narrator of the book, you get a lot of her humor first hand. She is an unique voice in the genre and honestly tells us what she thinks about certain things in a sarcastic and witty voice, definitely a loveable and memorable character. And it's not only Danielle that is a great character, the other people we get to meet in the book are definitely fun as well.
I don't know how it is to have OCD myself but I did feel like it was handled quite well in this book, even though it is handled in a humorous way, you never get the feeling that the author wants to make fun of it and it seems to be dealt with in a serious and sensitive way in that aspect. The humor most likely shines through because of Danielle and her way of talking and living her life. Now, I don't know to what extent the author is familiar with OCD or has researched it but to me the treatment of it seemed pretty realistic and well done.
This book is probably not something everybody will or can enjoy because Danielle is definitely a different kind of character and because of the nature of her problems there's a certain anxiety involved. But there's so much heart in the story and it touches you in ways you probably didn't expect before you started reading, at least I didn't. I just thought it would be an interesting book to read, that deals with some different things than what I had read before in this genre so for me it turned out to be quite the little gem. The book is also different in the sense that we're reading Danielle's writings, her essays for school, diary entries, emails etc. I always like books that are written in a different kind of format but I can see why it might not be everybody's thing. In this case, though, it works really well because this way we can really get a glimpse of what is going on in Danielle's mind.