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Kissing Doorknobs

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  2,314 Ratings  ·  230 Reviews
From very early on, Tara Sullivan worried about everything. Over time, her "quirks" grew and developed--from arranging her meals on plates and non-stop prayer rituals to kissing her fingertips and touching doorknobs. In this compelling coming-of-age story, a girl struggles to overcome a debilitating psychiatric condition--obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Hardcover, 149 pages
Published May 11th 1998 by Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mariah
Jan 12, 2016 Mariah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was extremely good! It taught me so much about OCD (a lot that I had no idea) and told it in story form! I suggest this book to everyone!! A great read to grow and expand the mind :)
MissSusie
May 04, 2010 MissSusie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
What an interesting story. Tara is a young girl with undiagnosed OCD she feels crazy and her family thinks she’s crazy and her behavior is causing them to go crazy.
This was a fascinating look into the mind of someone with OCD how awful it must be to have these compulsions .
When Tara first hears ‘Step on a crack and break your mothers back’ it gets stuck in head and she cannot ever step on another crack and starts counting them.
The journey she goes on from there is so sad , her parents take her
...more
Jay
I do like books that show the effects of various psychological disorders in a way that young adults can understand. I think it's important that teens and children understand that they're not alone, that there are people out there like them, and that there are ways to find treatment for problems if they so wish.

I liked this book in that it showed a young girl struggling to come to terms with her OCD, and how her family reacted to it. Hesser also explained some of the compulsions Tara goes through
...more
fiona
Nov 01, 2011 fiona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 7th-grade-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vanessa Ornelas
Well I thought overall this was a great book, i loved reading it. It seriously blew my mind how much this poor girl had to suffer. No one understood what she went threw suffering with OCD.
I liked this book in that it showed a young girl struggling to come to terms with her OCD, and how her family reacted to it. It made me really sad to see how the mom reacted though. She took things to the extreme even threatening to kill her if she did not stop with this kind of behavior. Tara has a OCD with c
...more
711Isabel B
Oct 06, 2010 711Isabel B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 7th-grade
There all kinds of stories about kids that are struiggling in the world....And they usually are kids that seem fairly average.
But KISSING DOORKNOBS, by Terry Spencer Hesser opened up a whole new world.

I felt like the writing in KISSING DOORKNOBS was very similar to MYTHIRTEENTH WINTER, by Samantha Abeel. Both characters were dealing with things inside of their heads, things that other people couldn't understand, and things that they couldn't control. It took over their lives, turned everything
...more
Sam
This book is about a girl named Tara. She has always been on the nervous side-but around 10 years old she starts developing some strange habits. These habits include counting cracks, kissing her fingers before she can touch the front door knob, and crossing herself. This takes place before OCD was a commonly known disorder, and the story betrays the emotions and feeling Tara had to live through.

This book was very good. It was short, (I read it within one school day), and the characters were very
...more
Jessica
Jul 08, 2009 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazingly descriptive book that firmly and realisticly describes a teens lifr in the hands of OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER.
I know this since I have been personally affected with this torchering mental illness.
I strongly recommend the reading of this novel since I have not read any other that shows as much truthfulness and personality as any other book of this genre.

NOTE: OCD comes in many different and specific forms. This book, nor any other book could possibly describe ALL types an
...more
Glenda Rojas
Apr 22, 2015 Glenda Rojas is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am currently reading the book Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser and the book is a story of a young girl who grew up with ocd.
Sasha Smith
Jan 05, 2015 Sasha Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful Story. I read this last year and decided to read it again because of how much i enjoyed it.
Amanda
Aug 26, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, I read this because a friend of mine from work and I decided to exchange our most favorite books so that we could read them. She gave me this one, today. Of course I read it all, just finishing only a few minutes ago... It was a short read, sort of. But I did enjoy it. I can relate to Tara and her OCD because my father basically has the same thing, but it's just.. little ticks, sort of. Like.. if we put the toilet paper in the wrong way, he has to fix it; the roll has to be facing a certain ...more
Deb
Jan 07, 2016 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5. This book was eye opening. It gave such a sad, realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a young girl suffering with extreme OCD, and the effect it has on everyone around her. Yet ultimately hopeful, because it shows that with a proper diagnosis, a competent therapist, and a commitment to the hard work of change, there can be recovery. Although it's fiction, I think if you have anyone in your life who struggles with any form of OCD, this book is helpful reading.
Amy Snyder
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel B
To begin,Terry Spencer Hesser's Kissing Doorknobs weirded me out by its main character.“doubt that I’d ever win the war for my freedom.” This book is about the life Tara Sullivan and her battle against her OCD. In the book we follow the up and downs of her life and how hard OCD is to live with. In my opinion of this book it was excellent but it just didn't appeal to me so it just made me feel uncomfortable reading this. I just don't like reading things that make me depressed.

Furthermore, the t
...more
Patti
Jan 28, 2008 Patti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is about obsessive compulsive disorder. One day a small girls starts realizing that if she steps on a crack in the sidewalk, the she will literally break her mothers back. And the story progresses from there. It shows how obsessions can become so ritualistic that people can't cope without them. And the fear of leaving those rituals was palpable. Interesting read but kind of disturbing.
Meghan Yardas
Jan 24, 2014 Meghan Yardas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Schaafsma
Oct 15, 2012 David Schaafsma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-psych
You know, I don't love this book. There's in my opinion some very bad and wooden writing in it.... but having said this, when I teach my YA class, ANYONE who has OCD LOVES it because they can relate to it... so I usually have it on my list of "choice" books to read... and inevitably, someone does a project about OCD... so is this is really a very good book, is my rating low?
MJH1518
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Priscila Cervantes
Kissing doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser is a interesting book based on a young girl who has a disorder, OCD. She has to struggle with her school,friends, and family because of her disorder. Her disorder makes her do strange things which is what bothers her parents and friends. Some of the things she does is at first count cracks on the sidewalk and if she loses count she has to start all over again. Tessa, the main character with OCD starts getting worst and worst until one day she gets help b ...more
Salsabrarian
From a young age Tara is plagued with anxieties, worries and fear about all kinds of things, but it isnât until she first hears the phrase âœstep on a crack, break your motherâs back,â that she increasingly performs bizarre rituals in order to help ease her anxieties. Her new friend Donna provides a distraction for awhile, but Tara gets worse and is continually misdiagnosed until her fatherâs friend figures out whatâs happening and puts her in touch with his student Sam, another obsessive compul ...more
Emily
Jun 10, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: Toni
Shelves: hardships, ya-books
I haven't read many books about disorders but I have found that the ones I have read are very interesting. This book does a good job of showing what it is like for someone with obsessive compulsive disorder. I have a relative with OCD and it is hard to understand what it is like for them. This book really does help convey how we need to have empathy for these people as we can never quite understand what they are going through but it is important that we do try to be patient and caring regardless ...more
Mikayla
Dec 25, 2012 Mikayla rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
TERRIBLE!!!! DON'T READ UNLESS YOU HAVE TO!!!!!
Abby
Aug 26, 2015 Abby rated it liked it
When I started reading this book, I thought it was an autobiography which it is not. The author, Hesser, just did research on OCD. I hope that what she found out was accurate because it is a terrifying disease. Tara has fears and worries that escalate and induce her into rituals so that she may gain control of her fears. The "tyrants in her head" as she calls them take control of her thoughts. One of the most terrifying things to read about was the way that the OCD affected her family. Her siste ...more
Susan
KISSING DOORKNOBS does some things fairly well, or at least not offensively, but that's about the best thing I can say about it. The first half of the story reads like a memoir written by an adult about her teenage years; that doesn't make for bad reading for someone with an interest in mental illness, but it also doesn't make for a believable teen heroine or a particularly compelling storyline. For about the first two-thirds of the novel, Tara struggles with her illness, in all its various mani ...more
Alex Niemi
Terry Spencer Hesser writes a story about an emotional behavioral disorder that affects a fourteen-year-old girl. The main character’s relationships with her family and friends start to struggle from her obsessiveness. Although the beginning was a little slow for my taste and the writing wasn’t my favorite, the story has a lot of good information about OCD and how it can change a person’s life. This book is written for children and allows them to make connections and not feel like “the only one. ...more
Q
Sep 12, 2011 Q rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pamela
Feb 05, 2009 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kissing Doorknobs by terry Spencer Hesser
The book is a fiction book and it’s about a girl named Tara who has obsessive-compulsive disorder also known as OCD and how her illness gets in the way of her loved ones.
The book is how Tara copes with OCD and things she overcomes in the process. Tara has had OCD since she was ten years old, but she never knew or heard of OCD so she thought that she was going crazy when she always walk home by herself counting the cracks on the sidewalk, making her food
...more
Christie
Feb 07, 2013 Christie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tara is fighting tyrants in her head and no one understands. Her mother does not know what to do or how to help her daughter and doctor after doctor has a different diagnosis for her. She is loosing her friends and can't control the pull to do certain things. Her quirks start not only to effect her lives but the lives of her friends and her family.

This book took you into a life of a young girl with OCD. I was amazed that it took four years for anyone to figure out what was wrong with Tara...goo
...more
ayyitskianaa
Oct 18, 2010 ayyitskianaa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 7th-grade-shelf
Kissing Doorknobs, was about a girl, Tara, who was obsessed with rituals. In this book, Tara goes through many problems of teens at her age, but then Tara begins to feel that she is being forced to follow strange rituals in order to deal with the worries that threatens her life. The rituals to me seemed so dumb but to her it seemed as a matter of life or death. The rituals that she was cautious of were not only avoiding stepping on any cracks in the sidewalk but also endlessly counting them, so ...more
elinor
I thought that this book was interesting, but I did not like the style that it was written in. It wasn't very narrative, meaning that it had a lot of it was written like "Then this happened. After that, this happened," which made it a little boring. Sort of like a list. But, the plot was good. At one point, I was considering abandoning it. The book was basically a summary of the main character, Tara's life.

I think that if there was more details and dialogue in the chapters, it would have been mo
...more
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Kissing Doorknobs 3 17 Jul 26, 2014 08:57PM  
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“My friends tried to ignore my quirks since they didn't have a clue what to do about them. It didn't seem hard on them though. They were already trained to ignore their parents' alcohol abuse, constant bickering, serial marriages, and nonsensical advice.” 6 likes
“Keesha looked at me for a long time. "I did leave you alone. We all did. But you didn't get better. You didn't stop. You're still doin' all your weird shit. And I think it's time to stop."
"You think it's time to stop!" I exploded, and lunged at her with my hands outstretched. I pushed her real hard. She almost fell down. "I don't care what time you think it is!" I screamed. "Do you think I want to do this! Do you think I like it?"
"You pushed me!"
"Yeah. So what?"
"You're so afraid of being interrupted that you pushed me!"
"I'm not scared of being interrupted, you jerk! I'm . . . I'm scared . . . I'm scared of being." I crumpled into a ball and sat down where I was standing. I sat on a crack. Unevenly.
"Who are you anymore, Tara?"
Tears spilled over my frozen lashes and disappeared across my cheekbones. I had never felt so defeated. "I don't know.”
4 likes
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