When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.
But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.
Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down...and she might end up breaking her own heart.
I have OCD. It's a debilitating mental disorder that has ruined my life and my body. My OCD mostly comes in the form of dermatillomania, which is essentially picking at my skin. My body is covered in tiny scars from when I've picked at my skin hard enough to bleed, and it's been a source of extreme anxiety and low self-esteem.
Now, we are told that Bea, the main character of this novel, has OCD. I picked up this book solely for that reason. I was so excited to read a character just like me. But she wasn't.
Bea is a stalker. She likes to keep an eye on people who catch her fancy. You could say she's a bit obsessed.
OCD is a neurological disorder where the body has certain tics, certain rituals, that must be done before serenity is achieved. If I'm anxious, my hand will automatically rise to pick at my arm, face, or scalp, and several minutes later, I'll find that my fingers are covered in blood. There are several characters in this book who do display symptoms of OCD. There's a girl who has trichotillomania (which is the obsessive pulling of hair), a guy with dermatillomania, and two people who are obsessed with cleanliness--one of which is Beck, Bea's boyfriend.
In fact,when we are introduced to Bea, she doesn't show any symptoms of OCD, or of any mental disorder. She likes to eavesdrop on the couple who have their appointment before hers, but that's it. Why her psych diagnoses Bea with OCD is beyond me. I wish she'd have a gradual spiral that shows Bea going to therapy for just anxiety reasons, and then showing symptoms of OCD, instead of just throwing us in with nothing. So, in the end, Bea is made to go to group therapy sessions.
The only thing that Bea does during those sessions is internally mock everyone except for Beck about their compulsions. Trichotillomania girl is instantly hated by Bea; she finds the skin picker to be gross because his face is covered in sores as a result of his picking, and she thinks that the girl who needs to be clean all the time is just a neat freak. She is completely cold-hearted when it comes to other people's sicknesses, to the point where she enables Beck's compulsions because it makes her feel normal. SHE ACTIVELY ALLOWS SOMEONE TO ACT ON THEIR COMPULSIONS BECAUSE IT MAKES HER FEEL LIKE LESS OF A FREAK.
The attitude towards OCD--and mental illness in general--is disgusting. Bea continues to think of her group-mates as freaks all throughout the book. Not once does she think of anything positive to say about them.
Bea only starts displaying OCD compulsions in the last hundred or so pages of the book. Her thoughts are erratic and all over the place, and is well written--if not for the fact that the first 250 pages were completely pointless.
The kicker is when Bea is cured of OCD by the last chapter. It only took 2 sessions of exposure therapy--where the subject is forced into a situation where they can't rely on their compulsions. This is an awful depiction of exposure therapy, which doesn't always work, and if it does, takes months, if not years, to get the OCD down to a level that no longer hinders the patient. But it's always there. And in the end, it's true love that really cures her OCD.
To conclude: the author did next to no research on OCD, and her biases on the weird parts of OCD really shine through. If only we could all be as quirky as Bea with her quirky obsession with people.
This book was so difficult to read. I came in, hoping to come across a character just like me, and all I got out of it was that I'm weird for picking at my skin, and that I can be cured if I just tried hard enough--and with the power of true love. This review was so incredibly difficult to write, because of the anger and frustration I felt. I've written and rewritten it so many times, trying to express what I mean in a succinct way, but it's impossible. I can't find the right words, and my thoughts are all over the place, but this will have to do. I feel so insulted that people read this and come away thinking that they have some insight to OCD, when their knowledge is hazy from the lack of research and care put into it. I don't know... I feel like this is a dangerous misrepresentation and attitude towards OCD. A couple of comments talk about how the others in her group are mistreated because that Bea's attitude towards them, but her attitude never changes, and thus, we are never told that they're normal people who aren't freaks. They're left being weird and creepy and gross. The ugly part of OCD.
Good mental health books are very hard to come by, in my experience, they’re practically non-existent. OCD Love Story was 100% not perfect but it was good and with the lack of mental health books that aren’t complete trash out there, I’m satisfied with it being just good.
This book like every other book has its problem’s but I think it accomplished what it set out to do. OCD Love Story reads in a way that can only be described as uncomfortable, in the best way. While reading it, it is almost as if Bea’s anxiety slips off the page right unto you, unpleasant, leaving no room for romanization.
It is a slippery slope when it comes to mental health in the media, it is so easy to cross the line from respect to romanization, and this book maintains the perfect distance away from that dreaded line while still including a romantic storyline. The unavoidable ugliness that comes along with mental illness is not avoided or glossed over but also not glorified. In this book, Bea's compulsive tendencies are identified as what they are, unpleasant side effects of a sickness. It isn’t seen as something to long for but it isn’t a revolting trait Bea or her love interest have either. They both have their tendencies but that doesn’t make them unlovable. Their relationship is flawed and neither of them claims or try to fix the other, in fact, Bea as a character is extremely flawed, outside of her mental illness which is something else that is rare.
Bea is selfish and arrogant, reading in her point of view is unpleasant at best and offensive at worst, she is not a nice person. While reading quite a few of the passages in the novel I couldn’t help but feel unsettled. I became uncomfortable (in a bad way), but I can’t get mad at the book, Bea is supposed to be this way. She has terrible thoughts, like everyone else. Bea isn’t likeable, she is however well written. An example of this is when we first meet the other teens in her therapy group. She has the oh so familiar mentality, that she is above the “crazy” people she is in therapy with, she thinks of them as gross because unlike her their mental illness is more visible and while Bea’s internal monologue is realistically offensive that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is offensive. I can only imagine how someone looking for rep in this book would feel to have their own tendencies shit on by the main character. – This is just one example of Bea being terrible (believe me there are others) and I can understand why someone would rule out this book altogether because of it but I don’t think Corey Ann Haydu is trying to say this mentality is okay, she isn’t excusing it, Bea is in fact proven wrong, as her mental state diminishes and she realizes that she is not better than any of the people she deems lesser.
At the end of the book, Bea isn’t cured, but she is on the road to recovery, which I appreciate. Mental illness is such a long-standing bullshit ride that it can’t possibly be cured in one novel, not even if said novel was 30,000 pages. Too many YA books like this end in unrealistic happy rainbows or suicide, while I’ll take the rainbows over the suicide neither is all that hopeful. Seeing someone recover without any actual recovery involved is aggravating and nonsensical in the best of situations, so the positive realism is greatly appreciated.
OCD Love story is an uncomfortable and unpleasant book, full of unlikeable characters and offensive internal monologues and somehow I don’t hate it.
*I do not have OCD so I can’t speak for the rep in this book. *
**I do however have anxiety and write this review from the point of view of someone who has struggled with mental illness for a long ass time. When I read a book like this I hope to find reassurance, not a carbon copy of my experience’s. **
OCD Love Story is one of those books that I think I'm going to love in retrospect. It's a painful read, one that actually sort of grated on my brain. The description calls it "raw," which is apt, and relatable, which it wasn't really for me. In the end, I'm really impressed with Haydu's debut, but largely undecided on just how I feel about it, and I already know I'll have to sit on it for a while and reread to really process my feelings about Haydu's debut.
There is no doubt in my mind that OCD Love Story is brilliantly done. Haydu approaches OCD with honesty, and I learned a lot about OCD from this novel. I always thought I might be a little bit OCD, but, wow, I was wrong. The compulsions that Bea and the rest of her group have are nothing like my desire to listen to music at volumes that are either multiples of two or five. OCD isn't pretty. Even though the goal of these behaviors is to give the person a feeling of safety or order, the end result is not that.
Unlike the cover says so many times, Bea is not stalking a boy in OCD Love Story, though she did have a history of that. She's stalking a man, Austin, and his wife, Sylvia, who have the session before her with Dr. Pat. She overheard snippets of their session, and started a notebook about them. From there, she began to worry about their safety, felt the need to check in on them or she would be overcome with anxiety. On top of that, she's terrified of sharp objects, afraid that she'll hurt someone with them, can't drive above 30 miles an hour, because she thinks she'll hit someone, and pinches her thigh to a blue/black mess. Bea's issues are believable, but they were really hard for me to personally relate to. At the same time, this frank portrayal was great, because it really opened up my mine to different ways of thinking and being, which is one of the things I love about literature.
The romance depicted in OCD Love Story is really touching, actually. For a moment, I was afraid it would go to creepy Juno-like places with the Austin stalking, but it didn't thankfully. Right at the beginning, Bea meets a guy in a blackout and makes out with him. She meets him again in OCD group therapy, and he's just her type (huge and muscular and difficult to hurt). Beck and Bea are both incredibly messed up teens and seriously in denial about that. What I love about their romance, though, is it shows that love isn't skin deep and isn't just about perfection. In YA, the heroine and hero are generally idealized and perfect. Beck and Bea are not that, but it doesn't mean they can't find someone to love them, which is such a great message. Plus, their relationship has problems, but they work on it and stay together. It's not magically perfect or that the world wants to keep them apart.
OCD Love Story made me want to go into the book so that I could sit Bea down and give her a talking to. Beck too. Their compulsions are so hard for me to really understand. However, I loved the way that Haydu brought it all together in the end, as you find out what happened to Beck and Bea in the past. Their compulsions come from logical places, but practical concerns are taken to a level that's beyond rationality.
Perhaps I'll change my mind on this later, but, for now, the reading experience was sort of unpleasant. Worth pushing through, certainly, but reading this book almost physically hurt. This is obviously a sign that Haydu has done her work and done it well. You're meant to be uncomfortable, because that's what it's like to be Bea. Even though I know this is a sign of quality, it did lessen my liking of the book a bit. A reread might change my mind, but for now...
Aside from that, the writing style didn't really appeal to me. It fits Bea very well, but I didn't much care for it. That's a very personal thing, of course, and Haydu did do a great job with the voice overall, but it's just not my favorite writing style.
Lovers of honest books about hard subjects will not want to miss OCD Love Story. This is a book that will make you think and make you feel awkwardness and pain for the characters.
If I took any "points" off this book, it would be because at times, it was an incredibly difficult read, in the sense that Haydu takes you so far inside the main character's head, and it's not really a pleasant place to be. But I opted not to take points off for the fact that the author did a fantastic job presenting a disorder with which I have no experience.
Bea was definitely not the sort of main character I've ever seen before, nor Beck the sort of love interest. But this book really and truly was a love story, about two people who struggle daily with their own minds, with other people's reactions to them, and with incidents in their pasts that have changed their lives, trying to "fix" themselves in order to make space for another person to be in their lives.
Particularly fascinating to me was the way each person with OCD in the book was presented as having the common thread of OCD while also being so unique that none could truly understand the other's compulsions. I really loved the backdrop of the therapy group for this reason, and I thought the secondary characters served the story terrifically well.
Not a light-hearted read, but one I would definitely recommend.
I wouldn't be honest if I said that I liked this book because quite frankly, I was a bit disturbed. But I think the book accomplished what Haydu had intended, or at least I think it was what she had intended, and for that, I have to give her props.
I was looking for a cute, fun read that this was definitely NOT that. It forced me into a very serious topic in a not very pleasant light. I often joke that I'm border-line OCD because I'm pretty anal about certain things or particular about evening or balancing things, and I know this book focused on extreme cases, but I was willing to take a peek.
Let's admit it, Bea is kind of a scary person - is kind of creepy, and it would probably freak you out if that was happening to you - someone you know, let alone a stranger. I liked that she wasn't your typical case of what you would consider OCD, but I was curious where Haydu was going with it. And in a way, it was morbidly interesting - maybe not mobid, but how you can't help but stare at an accident or someone who is mentally challenged.
But I was interested by the different cases that were presented in the therapy session, although I do think that an obsession with washing your hands/body and an obsession with constantly working out is a weird combination - only because you get sweaty and dirty when you work out so it seems like it's a never ending cycle, just an odd combination in one person.
And it was interesting to see what triggered their OCD and how they got over it. HOWEVER, I did not like the fact that in the cases in this book, namely Bea and Beck, that it was a phase in their life. Some people pick up these habits early on in life, and it wasn't some dramatic event in their lives that triggered it. And yes, I do think medicine and therapy can help you deal with it, but I don't it's something that you can just overcome. And I don't want to make the assumption that Bea and Beck are completely cured by the end of the book, but everything is tied too neatly at the end.
But like I said, I do have to give Haydu props for having the guts to write a book like this. I wouldn't say I was sucked in, and it was more of curiosity than deep intrigued that kept me going - because I did feel that the book was a long read. But I do think that it was interesting to read, and it did mess with my head. I'm curious to know if this was based on a real story or a fictionalized version of real cases or if it was something Haydu totally made up and how much of this could really happen.
I have OCD — diagnosed fourteen years ago in my twenties, but I’ve had it since childhood — and I loved this book.
The main character is complicated but sympathetic, and we see the world through her fears and compulsions. There’s a lot of subverting expectation around the usual love story tropes, and character tropes. The writing frequently caught me off guard, with Bea identifying things I’ve never been able to articulate.
It’s a very powerful novel and, I think, a hopeful one. I see that some others with OCD have not liked it (hey, that’s fair!) or suggested that the main character doesn’t have OCD (not fair, if you ask me). OCD takes many forms, not just the obvious ones like hand washing, skin picking, and door checking. Bea is terrified that people she likes will be harmed if she doesn’t repeatedly, compulsively check on them. This leads to people treating her like a stalker (indeed, that’s what she’s become) without understanding the psychological underpinning of her behavior. This character would absolutely be diagnosed with OCD if she existed in real life. She struggles with very clear obsessions (mostly harm) and compulsions (checking, pinching herself, and verbal rituals).
I wish I could have read this as a high schooler. Although my OCD doesn’t look like Bea’s (thankfully), I recognize my brain in hers, and I think reading this would have made me feel less alone.
As someone who have OCD very close in my life, I can´t tell how much this book hit a sore spot in me.
The author really understood how to write a book that don´t sugercoat, and make OCD to something we all can laugh at. It is a true, and very heavy story, that is so well written that you live the feelings in the book. You will experience the panic attacks, the feeling of wanting to apologize all the time, the shame, the need to do the OCD things to feel better, and how people react around one, when you do. How you are embarrassed, but the feeling to do your OCD is much stronger than what people will think of you. How time consuming it is - how much work it is.
It´s an honest story of how damaging OCD is – how a dream as a costume designer suddenly is impossible because you will have to use a scissor <-- a sharp object you are scared you will hurt someone with. How no matter how much you want to kiss and hold someone, the thought of the contact is repulsive, and set a stop for having a normal relationship, because you want to wash the feeling of the person of you.
It is a very heavy story, and it´s not pretty to read, but just as "crazy" you will think it is, just as much hope is there in the story. It is a story with troubled kids - expect that it will be hard. You have to reach the buttom before it can get better.
This book was so stressful I might end up in therapy!
My rating for this book could be improved one to two stars just by changing the cover and marketing. The girly colors and frills on the cover are specifically relevant to the story but send a drastically different message about the general tone of the book. This book is intense with an emphasis on the "OCD" rather than the "love story." I expected a light-hearted and quirky story but found myself trapped in someone's personal hell.
When I read books I enter a realm of empathy with the characters and temporarily escape from my life. The intensity of this story left me feeling even more anxious than Bea, as I was also aware of the inevitably negative consequences of her actions.
This book would be significantly more enjoyable if it was marketed as a serious account of the everyday trials of living with OCD and the manner in which OCD affects relationships. If I had been aware of the nature of the book before I read it, I may have been more receptive to the direction of the plot.
I despised this book. If it hadn't been marketed so poorly I never would've picked it up.
Admittedly I don't know much about OCD, so I was hoping this book would at the very least educate me about the disorder even if it couldn't engage me in any other way.
All this book did was romanticize a mental disorder while simultaneously vilifying those who have it. Almost every character in this book who suffers from OCD was completely unlikable and since it's so poorly written it just makes it seem like anyone who has this disorder is crazy and mean and horrible. I know that isn't true and I'm pissed off at the terrible job this book does of educating its readers. Young readers are going to walk away from this unnerved and scared of people who live with OCD and that makes me so angry. A mental disorder isn't a fun quirk for a YA romance and I'm enraged that it was used like this and that it didn't even try at the very least to inspire empathy in its readers.
Not to mention the prose was awful and the story itself was boring and none of the characters were engaging. It looks pretty on my shelf but that's about the nicest thing I can say about it.
So here are the catch words I wrote down after finishing OCD Love Story: Intense, harrowing, anxious, stressful, cringe worthy, heart racing, sad, hopeful. I felt ALL of these emotions as I was reading this book. It's a tough read. Or at least it was for me. It reminded me a bit of Hilary T. Smith's Wild Awake, especially the parts of that book where protagonist Kiri is in full-on manic mode. The difference is that in OCD Love Story, protagonist Bea is pretty much ALWAYS like that. Always full of anxiety. Always compulsing and obsessing over things and people in her life. It was hard to read because I rarely had time to catch my breath. It just kept going on and on. Which is probably why I had to take a step back from the book as I was reading it. I think I put it down for almost a month before picking it back up again and finishing it.
Now I don't want to give the wrong impression. I didn't walk away from the book because it's bad, because it's not. In fact it is extremely well written. Corey Ann Haydu definitely has her writing chops in check. I walked away because of the intensity. It was HARD to be in Bea's mind for long periods of time. It was exhausting. I felt super stressed out as I was reading. And I'm betting that that is exactly what Haydu was going for when she wrote this book.
My personal experience with OCD and other anxiety disorders is pretty limited. I do have a distant family member who has been diagnosed with compulsion issues and I can tell you it is not easy being around him. It's the same with Bea and Beck in this book. Both these kids were to me VERY likable characters. And very sympathetic characters. The thing about Bea is she KNOWS how out of hand her behavior can get. When she is in the middle of a dull blown anxiety attack, or when she is in the middle of acting completely erratically and, let's just say it because Bea does, CRAZY, she knows it. At the beginning of the book, Bea does have some denial issues when her therapist Dr. Pat (who is SUCH a great character, one of my fave's in the book) wants to start treating her for anxiety disorder. But by the half way point, Bea fully comprehends just how bad her illness has become.
So, like I said, because of this it's very easy to like Bea and want to see her get better. It's easy to want to cheer her on and watch her overcome her illness. Even when her disorder causes her to do things that will absolutely make you CRINGE in embarrassment. In fact, especially then, because Bea is almost like an outsider looking in--her disorder just takes over and even though she knows she REALLY shouldn't be saying certain things or doing certain things, she is HELPLESS to stop it.
There are all sorts of things that trigger anxiety in Bea. Sharp objects: she's obsessed with the fact that anyone, even her, especially her, could pick up a pair of scissors or something and hurt someone. Driving: Bea can barely make it from point A to B because she is so worried she will accidentally hit something or someone. In fact, she often has to turn around again and again to double back and make sure that she really didn't just hit that kid on the tricycle. It's like when you run back inside your house to make sure your turned off the curling iron or locked the back door times 1,000.
And then there is Bea's most disturbing fixation on a couple who are also patients of Dr. Pat's that she begins watching. The watching turns to listening in and transcribing their therapy sessions, which then leads to her following them home which then leads to full on stalking. And why? Because she fears something will happen to them if she doesn't keep watch over them. It's this kind of erratic behavior that makes up the 'OCD' part of OCD Love Story.
So what about the 'Love Story' part? It's there. In the beginning of the book, Bea meets Beck at a school dance. The lights have gone out in the gym, and Bea senses that a nearby boy is having a panic attack. Turns out it's Beck. When she runs into him a few days later at her first group therapy session a friendship forms.
Beck has got a lot of issues as well. He's a compulsive hand washer. He's obsessed with the number 8. And he compulsively works out. To the point that his body gives out on him. As a result he looks pretty menacing--but Beck is a very fragile, broken guy on the inside. I really did love the romance that develops between these two. But again, it was HARD to read. I loved that they both turned to each other and tried to help each other with their disorders, but it's not a really conventional romance. Part of me felt like they really were in no way ready to enter into an emotional or physical relationship--they both had SO MANY PROBLEMS. But on the other hand, I think the benefits of them finding each other and working on having some kind of normal relationship outweighed the negative aspects.
I mentioned how much I liked Dr. Pat, Bea and Beck's therapist. She was great. But there was also a character that I had a lot of negative feelings about and that was Bea's best friend Lisha. I won't go into details but Lisha is an enabler and while I can understand how that happens, Lisha does some things in this book that really bothered me.
I know this review might be all over the place, and that is probably a good indicator of how I felt as I was reading. But in the end I liked this book a lot. It was tough, but I liked getting this inside view of what it is like to live with anxiety and compulsion disorders. I have a new found respect for the people who live with them, as well as their friends and families that deal with it, and the individuals who help treat them.
And remember one of my catch words was HOPE. Because this book does have a lot of that in it too. Bea and Beck do have breakthrough moments, one happens to Bea while she is driving with Dr. Pat, and those are WONDERFUL to read. I walked away from this book feeling like both Bea and Beck, while not magically cured, have reached a turning point, and the future looks brighter for both of them.
So, would I recommend this book to others? Yes. I realize that it may not be a book for everyone--there is no denying that it was an uncomfortable read for me at times, but it exposed me to something that MANY people live with on a day to day basis and I think that is a very, very good thing in the end. Kudos to Corey Ann Haydu for having the balls to write a book like this. I'll definitely be watching for more from her in the future.
It is so, so difficult to read a novel where the main character is suffering from a condition that could potentially make you uncomfortable. And yet, I also think that's why books like this are so important. Real people have these real conditions (or something similar), and maybe it might not be exactly the same symptoms or choices because of it, but at least we know how to empathize with them and understand what they are going through a little bit more.
OCD Love Story is not an easy read. There are moments that will make you uncomfortable, instances that will make you cringe, things that will make you unbearably emotional. All of the discomfort is centered around Bea, who suffers from severe OCD that causes her to act in questionable ways. So, to be completely honest, I can't tell you I enjoyed reading it because it just made me feel off-kilter.
Yet, it's because OCD Love Story depicts something so raw and real that I feel it's really important for readers to encounter Bea's story for themselves. Real people suffer from conditions like Bea's every day, and the novel goes a long way towards helping readers understand exactly what it could be like for them. While there are varying symptoms or levels of these conditions, this novel encourages a better understanding and true empathy for those who battle mental illnesses.
Even though she's also the source of my discomfort, Bea is also the reason I kept on reading OCD Love Story. Little glimpses into her past, into her character, into her vulnerabilities, all of that really helped me engage with her as a character. It made me want her to find solid footing among the tumult of her OCD and the hard stuff she was afraid to face, even when she was trying my patience with her choices. While it's not something that can be cured completely, OCD can be managed (based on what is mentioned in this novel, as well as what I know from real life) and I wanted that for her.
There are a lot of things going on in OCD Love Story, but to me, it's heavily focused on Bea being diagnosed with OCD and dealing with it. What stands out most in my mind is that, even though the story is messy and riddled with uncomfortable moments, it reads so authentically. In the end, Haydu's story is a testament to one simple truth: life goes on, no matter what you have to deal with in your every day. It's a hard truth, but a good one to be faced with, and I believe it will inspire readers to face the fact that life as we know it might not always be perfect - and we should persevere anyway.
It will challenge you. It will make you think. It will drop-kick you out of your comfort zone. But OCD Love Story is worth all of the time you'll spend reading it, and I sincerely hope you'll give it a shot.
An excellent exploration of mental illness. Maybe more than an exploration but an actual head-on EXPERIENCE of mental illness. A damn good debut, with a nice side of romance that is never actually a romance. It is, as the title suggests, a love story.
Bea has a bit of a problem. A stalking problem. She doesn’t spend her time stalking her maybe/maybe not boyfriend, Beck. They just attend group therapy for OCD together. No, Bea spends her time stalking Austin, a man who happens to attend couple’s therapy with his wife in the timeslot right before Bea’s individual therapy sessions. But really, what Bea does isn’t stalking, is it? It’s not her fault that she gets to therapy an hour early and happens to sit in a chair next to a vent that allows her to hear what goes on during Austin’s therapy session, is it? And, it’s not really her fault that she happened to follow Austin and his wife home one day and now knows where they live, right? And, I mean, could it really be her fault that she finds out Austin and his wife are local celebrities in a band and she just happens to buy their CD and knows about their upcoming concert????
I can’t remember the last time a book made me so uncomfortable while I was reading it. I mean, I was literally squirming with anxiety for Bea. I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea that OCD could make someone a stalker, but Corey Ann Haydu made me a believer (or at least made me say who gives a crap and just enjoy the story). Poor Bea! Such a tragic mess. This was a book I wanted to put down the entire time I was reading it due to my anxiety level (solid 7 for the duration), but somehow could not. Although not an “easy” reader, Haydu’s voice is so completely fresh that I was reeled in hook, line and sinker (maybe I have a bit of book-reading OCD????).
"At the risk of oversimplifying, [people with OCD] doubt ourselves deeply. In OCD Love Story, Corey Ann Haydu infuses her story about Bea, a teenage girl who gets diagnosed with OCD and doesn’t quite believe it, with the back-and-forth, pulsing presence of this doubt. The result is a first-person, insider’s account of what OCD feels like for many.
We are introduced to Bea in the form of a panic attack. While the power goes out in the middle of a school dance, Bea hears someone gasping for air, a “rhythm” she says she is familiar with, and finds her way toward the sound. She finds the boy experiencing the attack, Beck, and helps him through it. When Bea is forced to attend group therapy, Beck is there, and he remains a central figure for the remainder of the book.
A love story develops here, as the title suggests, but it is secondary to the portrayal of Bea navigating her OCD."
I had my sights set on this book even before it released last year. Although I got my hands on a review copy, I couldn’t get to it last year. So when I saw it in my library, I enthusiastically grabbed it.
The book began interestingly enough but soon seemed to lack lustre for me. I kept waiting for it to pick up, then waited for it to just get over and finally struggled for a month before being done with it. Phew! So glad it’s over.
I had high hopes set for this book and it dashed it all. A love story along with OCD interests me as a psychologist and a reader on so many levels. But this book dragged on with no obvious end in sight.
The characters didn’t make me feel and at times, seemed too bizarre. I get OCD, I see it all the time in my clinical practice and quite a lot of the information there was accurate and I applaud the author for it. But there had to be some editing in there.
Also, the story could have benefitted from, you know, actually having a story, rather than basing one on OCD symptoms. It isn’t a memoir after all. For a love story, the guy’s perspective was hardly shown and not even dealt with in its entirety, leaving things to the reader’s imagination. I am all for using my brain cells but at least make me want to do so. This book just made me want to fling it at the wall because it dragged on forever and I hate to leave books unfinished so I struggled through with it, wasting so much of my time. This 300+ page book could have easily been summed up in 200 and could have had an actual story, going by me.
The characters apart from Bea (the main one) are a bit unsteady and I found myself reading about them and saying ‘oh, really?’ in my head. They just don’t seem real enough, the situations seem vague and unlikely. Well, I can go on and on but I truly failed to understand the point that the book wanted to carry through.
Other readers have really liked the book so it may be my psychologist’s biased opinion and not just as a reader’s. So give this a chance at your own peril. I take no responsibility.
1.5/5 stars – The author has worked hard but the book really wasn’t for me.
High school senior Bea suffers from a compulsive form of OCD that, among other things, causes her to fixate on a person and stalk him. Now, in addition to the man she's stalking, she's dating a guy from her OCD support group and by dating, I mean they're enabling each other to fall deeper into their obsessions. Bea falls deeper and deeper into dangerous territory and nobody seems to be able to stop her, least of all herself.
OCD: A LOVE STORY is not a love story, the friendship between Beck and Bea is much more prominent that the light romance between the too. If anything, OCD: A LOVE STORY read more like a thriller. I found myself holding my breath, anticipating when Bea would be caught stalking, by whom, and how the fallout would pan out. I had to take frequent breaks to catch my breath, the tension permeated page after page. I actually felt Bea's anxiety jump off the pages and into my gut.
Corey Ann Haydu gave Bea a fantastic, realistic voice, not unlike other OCD teens I've treated. I do wish she would have gone into more details about her previous stalking episode and the incident that was the impetus of her anxiety. While Bea is annoying, often inappropriate, selfish and narcissistic some of that can be attributed to her anxiety and OCD. I hated how she treated her best friend, even more so because she knew she acted unkindly, but rather than engage with Dr Pat and tell the truth, she lied in order go continue her behaviors. Bea was unlikable more than sympathetic for most of the novel. I rooted her to have consequences, not just help for her OCD because of how often she crossed the line in hurtful ways.
I wish the stalking incident was set up and resolved more realistically. Most therapists gave white noise machines and don't put chairs so close to the door that would allow the next client to hear entire sessions as clearly to write take such copious notes. Most therapists would have an extra eye on a client with a history of stalking. Also, I don't know of any therapists who have their adult clients call them Dr ______ (first name), kids and teens, maybe, but not adults.
I ranked this book incredibly low for incredibly selfish reasons. As a person suffering from even a mild form of OCD I was highly triggered by the novel. It made my own personal compulsions worse, added to my anxiety, and disrupted my functionality. However, I couldn't go without finishing the book because /my own/ OCD wouldn't allow it. Bea is a good girl, and her symptoms are highly realistic, as well as her mindset. The other characters also expose the disease in various forms and in that way it was superb, in it's realism. I could never, however, recommend this book to anyone for fear it would have the same effect on them as it did on me.
This book was… a slight bit too love based for me. It has mature topics, such as swearing and alcohol use in it, and I really didn't like that at all. I do not recommend this book. The topic of OCD and the main characters compulsions weren't interesting and romanticized. It's not romantic, and the author portrayed it completely wrong. The main character, Bea, was every stereotypical white girl movie hero, a.k.a. Love obsessed, boring, self-centered, "kind," is "like everyone else!!111!!," and plain typical. I won't read this again, and unless you're looking for a tiring, slow-going, repetitive read, I don't recommend it.
This is a tough but realistic look at OCD. I love that this book is real - it's raw and powerful and not easy to read. But I'm glad there is a book that lets someone like me, who doesn't know this disorder well, get more information and understanding.
This shredded me. It was so painful to read. I had to set it aside more than once. It digs deep into OCD and took me to some dark places. But I loved it despite how angsty it made me. It's full of voice and rather adorable at times. It's also raw, messy, and eye-opening.
I returned this thing to the library weeks ago and didn't notice it was still on my goodreads overflow of books that bring content and happiness as "currently reading" so I guess I'll just weave out a review now.
I didn't finish this piece.............of..............*sigh* I always feel sad when I can't finish a book! It hurts my insides and makes me feel very very very uncomfortable but I couldn't do it. PLEASE DON'T HURT ME! People are like, "How can you review a book without fully reading it?!" Well...I can review why I didn't finish it . . .
So 1. This review isn't the most accurate thing, since I only read up to about one-half or maybe less of this girl's thoughts. 2. No, I don't have OCD...or at least I don't think I do. So I can't say this was an excellent portrayal of the disorder--NOR AM I GOING TO JUDGE IF IT IS! Because the only think I remember from this book is that the girl stalked a guy. I can't remember why she wanted to stalk the guy because that was weeks and weeks and weeks ago...maybe it was her OCD that made her stalk the guy? 3. I want to be a psychologist when I grow up. I want to study mental disorders because they are things that I can't understand that I want to understand. Like did you know that we mainly see 3 primary colors mixed together, right? Well butterflies see 16. So they can see colors we can't even imagine--ISN'T THAT AWESOME?! Don't you want to know the mystery in what you cannot imagine?
I will admit this over the internet. (It's not like it's the inner depth of my soul or anything, but . . .) I self-diagnosed myself with Anxiety Disorder and Depersonalization Disorder a few days ago. I had the worst vision twisting panic attack and everyone around me kept telling me to calm down and that nothing was wrong. But I felt like I was being pinched and pulled and tugged and shifted and not in a reality that I knew, and it was the scariest thing in the whole universe that I've ever been through. I went on the internet to see what it was, and that very attack, and my very symptoms that I have as a result now kind of fit into anxiety. I kept explaining how I felt to my lover, to my friends, to my family, but they could not see what I was describing. It's something you can't understand, imagine, or percieve unless you have a disorder.
So yeah. I don't have OCD, I can't understand how this girl feels. I do feel that OCD was portrayed pretty well in this book.
Her worries. Her compulsion that drove her to do things, her OBSESSIONS . . . I saw bits and pieces of OCD in there. But what turned me off was the character herself. And the story. And the whole feel the book gave me.
It wasn't the creepiness of the OCD, it was the book. It was how the words touched my soul. (More like . . . kind of . . . jabbed in a creepy way . . .)
First of all, I couldn't connect with any of the characters. From page one, I didn't feel like I could really get along with them! They wouldn't be my friends in real life! And I couldn't relate to them. I just didn't feel the buzz between me and them.
Lets say you read a favorite, favorite book, right? With a favorite favorite character. Lets say they're a funny person with a lot of sarcasm in their narrating and lots of puns and lots of dumb jokes that you just thought was hilarious. You would want to keep reading more right? (Unless you don't like those cramps you get when you laugh too much, or you just don't like happiness.) You would want to know what the character had to say, or what she would want to go through. You'd want to get to KNOW them. Be their figurative friend through pages, right? You'd never want the fun and adventure to end with your favorite character! You're INTERESTED.
The girl (sorry guys I . . . seriously don't remember the names of these people in here--thus making the review even more flawed and unknowledgeable but whatever, okay?) did NOT connect to my soul. I was not interested in her. I didn't want to hear about her stalking or her words or her story or-------I was just too distracted from the book too! I wasn't mesmerized or hypnotized, and trust me, when I really like a book, my nose is literally stuck in it. You pull it away and
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHCKKKCKC!!!! I will screech like nails on a black board . . .
Like I would (attempt to) read this book, and I'd kind of slide through the pages, not ferociously whip them or emotionally rustle them with tears. I would EMOTIONLESSLY SLIDE THROUGH THEM. And then my brother would come in and go, "Theresa, we have Arby's--"
AND I WOULD DROP THE BOOK RIGHT THERE. "Let's go, lets go, move move move move move move move," I would rush out of that room and hurry to my Arby's and not think that I have to immediately finish this book.
THAT IS A BAD SIGN. And a bad sigh . . . I'm sighing as I'm typing because it does take a lot for me not to want to continue a book I hand-chose off the bookshelf. It takes making me feel just as emotionless as the characters.
That's really all I can say. The first 100 pages were not a woop-dee-doo for me. So I didn't think the next 200 pages were either.
Even though I loved them for the unique stories they were, I can only compare my OCD Love Story reading experience to Wild Awake. The cover promised me this bright, happy story and the inside gave me something entirely different. A female character dealing with demons, in denial about those demons, and going through hell to hopefully move one step forward. (Whether she knows it or not.) Both debuts are filled with bittersweet moments, difficult moments, happy/sweet moments, and force you to really take your time going through the pages. Both authors are extremely talented; great language usage and a main character full of personality. And just like with Wild Awake, I want you to love OCD Love Story as much as I did.
Bea has such an enthusiastic personality. She wants to be a costume designer. She likes hot chocolate. She loves boys! She also enjoys listening into her therapist’s session before hers. The compelling and beautiful couple that have sort of a sexless marriage. Then she starts noting their secrets in a mini notebook, and driving by their place… and things get messy. Even though Bea has been actively in therapy for a period of time and is now taking part in an OCD therapy group, she is convinced she is not the weird one. That she’s not ripping her hair out of her head or washing her hands until the skin flakes off so she is okay compared to everyone else.
The realization that she is not and can’t grasp exactly what she is doing — jeopardizing her best friendship, halting her potential romance with fellow OCD groupee, Beck — is painful to watch unfold. I had to close the book a few times and take a deep breath because I just wanted to help Bea and make it all better. But I couldn’t. Haydu does a great job showcasing different OCD cases without making it feel medicial or too technical. Instead there is always that underlying feeling that dealing with OCD is a process and even making strides does not mean you are all “fixed.”
As for romance, I really liked Bea and Beck together even though I couldn’t quite tell if they would get it together. At one point, Bea says something to Beck like: Let’s stop being weird about the shit that we do. But even this acceptance that Beck is obsessed with working out or Bea drives super slow on the highway no matter what the weather doesn’t always mean sunshine and butterflies for them. Their connection is strong and they do understand each other, but sometimes you are not sure if they are actually helping one another or enabling in some way. I was rooting for them so much, both individually and as a couple.
OCD Love Story is so skillfully written: from the vibrant dialogue to the hard to read moments and also to the detail planting that Haydu does so well. She carefully plops in little clues, meant to explain the events that led to Bea becoming so fixated on certain things. I was actively telling myself to pay attention to those small facts, stringing them together until the whole story pieced together rather nicely.
My favorite stories of any genre are the ones that make me curious, leave me thinking about the characters way after I’m finished with the book. I’m still wondering if Bea’s best friend was actually just a good friend or totally cold-hearted and not understanding enough. I’m thinking about Dr. Pat and her way she worked with her patients. And what about the musician and his wife? Haydu gives us such a multi-dimensional story that I feel like I need to read it again to pick up all the great details she lovingly pieced together in this story. Most importantly, she gave us a character to really care about even when it hurt to do so.
Bea is just your average girl with a weekly therapist appointment. She just likes to take notes, and is a bit obsessive….with a tinsy history of stalking. She meets Beck and he just might be perfect for her, but she can’t stop obsessing over Austin and his perfect life and she just needs to check in on him to make sure he’s alright one last time and then she’ll move on!
I’m a bit speechless. I was expecting an interesting love story about a girl with minor OCD tendencies, like a need for everything to be in its proper place and maybe a obsession with keeping everything including herself extremely clean, you know kind of a “Out damn spot!” kind of thing. I was so far off. Bea’s compulsions have nothing to do with cleanliness and everything to do with obsessing over everyones safety. It was both fascinating and terrifying to watch her stalking manifest. It started as something so small and then grew so massive.
Watching her struggle to fight her compulsions and losing more often than not was heartbreaking especially because she is fully aware of how insane she acts and she is helpless to stop it. Once she and Beck start dating, watching them both use the other to help fight the compulsions and also to comfort one another when that fails was endearing. I love that Bea fully accepts Beck as he is, with his fitness obsessions and the number 8 fixation. She realizes that she is just as damaged and knows that on the list of compulsions, those aren’t nearly as bad as they could be. Not to mention the fact that he a very compelling reason for developing those obsessions.
The really disturbing thing about this was how fixated on Austin and Sylvia she becomes. Even after she starts a relationship with Beck, she can’t stop watching them and taking notes on the parts of their sessions she overhears. Her fear that something bad will happen to them if she doesn’t make sure they are okay is so vivid that she physically cannot stop herself from going to them.
This novel gets 5 stars for shock value alone. This is the only YA novel I have ever read that portrays OCD and stalking…well with the main character is a stalker because I’ve read several where the main character gets stalked. My point is more of this is the first one I’ve read where the stalker is portrayed in a semi-sympathetic light and the first one that seriously discusses OCD as more than just a vague reference to someone with an obsession with order. I do not have OCD, but I did take several different college psychology courses and I feel like Haydu did an excellent job portraying this condition. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something outside of your typical YA contemporary and for anyone interested in mental disorders.
****Thank you to Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****
I really enjoyed this book. I've always been a sucker for stories like this - those with mental health problems. I suppose I just have an odd morbid curiosity for things like this.
Bea isn't your run-of-the-mill person with OCD. Typically you hear about the ones that have to wash their hands a billion times a day and have to check and recheck the locks on their doors before they leave the house.
Bea has an obsession with checking on Austin & Sylvia at their posh apartment in Boston. She discovered them while waiting for her sessions with her therapist to start. Sylvia & Austin see the same therapist and Bea discovered she could hear part of the therapy session going on and her OCD with them bloomed from this discovery. She kept a notebook on them - on every single detail she could absorb from what they said to what they wore and when she feels her anxiety ratchet up, she reads the notebook for relief and often "checks" on them once a day. She feels if she does not "check" and make sure they are okay, then they could die.
She has other compulsions as well - like pinching her thigh to keep some of her compulsions in check, and driving 20 mph because she fears hitting someone. Sometimes she will make loops to continually check on someone walking outside to make sure she did not hit them while driving.
She starts group and officially meets Beck, a boy she "met" at a school dance at the beginning of the book, and things begin to unravel. As her relationship with Beck starts to develop, Bea's OCD gets worse and worse. Beck and Bea together is a bit odd and strange and yet somehow works. It begs the question of what happens when two OCD people get together? Do they try to help each other to stop the other person from compulsing, or do they enable each other because they understand the anxiety that can ensue if they don't get to compulse.
I really enjoyed going on Bea's journey with her and how it all came to a head for her and what she ultimately had to do in order to control her compulsions. Very well done!