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Kissing Doorknobs

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,862 ratings  ·  274 reviews
During her preschool years, Tara Sullivan lived in terror that something bad would happen to her mother while they were apart. In grade school, she panicked during the practice fire drills. Practice for what?, Tara asked. For the upcoming disaster that was bound to happen?

Then, at the age of 11, it happened. Tara heard the phrase that changed her life: Step on a crack, br
Paperback, 149 pages
Published March 10th 1998 by Laurel Leaf Library (first published 1998)
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Chloe This book is a bit wierd, but it is actually surprisingly good! A read it as a joke, and was surprised at what I found!
This book is a bit wierd, but it is actually surprisingly good! A read it as a joke, and was surprised at what I found!
seriouslygenius Goodreads is a rating website, for people who want to see if a book is good or not before they read it. It is NOT somewhere where there are free books…moreGoodreads is a rating website, for people who want to see if a book is good or not before they read it. It is NOT somewhere where there are free books for everyone to read. I suggest you go to your local library to check it out.(less)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,862 ratings  ·  274 reviews

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Ruby Granger
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the best middle grade portrayal of OCD I’ve read. Intrusive thoughts are captured so well it’s difficult to read in places.
Mellisa Rock
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Middle grade to YA book about OCD disorder and the havoc it can wreak on people & their families. I enjoyed it. ...more
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
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read Kissing Doorknobs after Mara Wilson aka Matilda wrote about it and the author in her book Where am I Now?
INTENSE just like the burdening feelings of OCD. I am a counter, tapper and checker. I live with different levels of anxiety and agoraphobia every day. This book was written for people like me and those who love us and want to help us with our state of mind.
The Afterword and Resources sections are exceptional support to the author's characterization appearing in this book.
Mariah Roze
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 :)
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Heather (hungrycookiemonster)
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: so-high-school
Confessions review? Oh yeah.

I give Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser 5/5 stars for being life changing and teaching me that I wasn't the only one suffering from this disease.

Kissing Doorknobs review:

Throughout my teenage years, I suffered from severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I cannot even go into details the rituals I performed daily from this disease. I remember being in 8th grade and picking this novel at the library. I read the synopsis and immediately knew I neede
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
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 7th-grade-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
711Isabel B
Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sam Cristol
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Glenda Rojas
Apr 22, 2015 is currently reading it
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 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Story. I read this last year and decided to read it again because of how much i enjoyed it.
Dec 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Tracy Tibbels
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tara is so relatable

I've never given much thought to how it must feel for someone with OCD, that it's terribly unpleasant for them, that they don't WANT to display such strange behaviors. I'm grateful not to have to deal with this. What a great story!
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
David Schaafsma
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
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?
Luisa Benson
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
7/11/18 Kissing Doorknobs by Hesser provides the reader with an authentic exploration of OCD. Hesser drew on her own experiences as a teen when writing about Tara Sullivan and how obsessive-compulsive disorder impacts her as well as her family. When she was eleven, Tara heard someone saying, "Don't step on a crack or you'll break your mother's back," and suddenly she can't stop counting cracks. Tara can't walk with her friends and other people begin to notice her quirks including classmates. Tar ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
There were definitely things I didn't really like about this book. Tara and her friends were dealing with some really heavy things at a very young age. I didn't think her friends' issues were given the proper gravity. Things like drug abuse, pregnancy, eating disorders were just casually dropped into the story like they didn't matter. I know they were not the main plot and that Tara was caught up in her own trials, but I thought some of these challenges should have either been explored more thou ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser will unease, enlighten and entertain readers with what it is like to have severe OCD through the perspective of a teen. Tara is eleven years old when she first starts experiencing symptoms of OCD, and from the point forth, she would not have control of her mind. She is plunged into a new life that is terrifying for both her, and her family. The perspective of the book really allows readers to experience what Tara is experiencing, and Terry Spencer Hesser ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Omg, I love this book! Kissing Doorknobs is about a teenage girl that has OCD, or obsessive compulsive dissorder. She has to kiss her fingers, then touch the doorknob before she opens it, she has to count the cracks in the sidewalk and when she messes up, she has to go back to where she started and strat all over again. She even has to arrange her food in a certain way. Tara really explains to you what it's like to have OCD. She looses two of her best friends, but later gains another one that go ...more
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
I ordered this book while reading Mara Wilson's memoir because she referenced its importance in her life and I was curious about it. The book is basically a YA teaching tool about obsessive compulsive disorder, and it dors explain the feelings/experience of the main character well, but the book is kind of boring, and Tara's parents are awful and I havr a hard time remembering, but Im pretty sure OCD wasn't that rare a diagnosis in the 1990s for this to have been such a hard thing to figure out f ...more
Evagelia Anthony
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that resulted in my diagnosis of OCD. I am studying psychology and I am planning on becoming a clinical child psychologist someday, yet it never occurred to me that I had it until I read this. I had been told a few times in the past that I should be checked, sure, but I never knew why and the realization hit around page 15. This book is so incredibly detailed and incredibly accurate as a result of the author's understanding of OCD; she experiences it herself. For those of you th ...more
April Rogers
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
YA book about a girl (11-14) who struggles with undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder before it was mainstream. I thought her compulsions and her family’s reactions to them (yes including her mother that slapped her) felt realistic. It seemed dated without anything specific that I could put my finger on- I ended up going back to see when it was written (1998). I wouldn’t mind an updated (I’m sure some things have changed in 20 years) and slightly longer version but if you or someone close to ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I noticed quite a few typos, and sometimes the characters did not react very realistically to situations, but I appreciate how the main character explains her issues well. A good take on how real OCD can affect people and relationships. The most frustrating thing was how incompetent the psychologists/psychiatrists were. It really shows how a misdiagnosis can mess a person up. Hopefully most mental health professionals are not as bad as the first three in the book. Also I cringed every ...more
Casper  Louise
May 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Crosby
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Decent intro to OCD; appealing story and a “You are not alone” message for kids who might be wondering what’s wrong with them. I was s little put off by the parents’ responses to their daughter’s disability—the mom wanted to kill Tara, and the dad was afraid she might? Over-the-top a bit, but once again, appealing to the target audience. I would’ve liked to have seen another verb chosen for speaking loudly other than “screamed.” This repetition grew old after a few chapters.
The Afterward by Dr
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When you work at Goodreads, it's pretty tough to keep that Want to Read shelf under control. (And let's be honest, most of us don't even t...
87 likes · 16 comments
“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.” 7 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.”
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