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Zelah Green

(Zelah Green #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  833 ratings  ·  100 reviews
My Name is Zelah Green and I’m a cleanaholic.

I spend most of my life running away from germs. And dirt. And people. And I’m just about doing OK and then my stepmother packs me off to some kind of hospital to live with a load of strangers. It’s stuck in the middle of nowhere. Great. There’s Alice who’s anorexic. Caro who cuts herself. Silent Sol who has the cutest smile. An
Paperback, 250 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Egmont UK (first published January 5th 2009)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  833 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Lauren (Northern Plunder)
This review was first posted on Northern Plunder, if you want to see more reviews please click here.

I was browsing my local library for something new because I needed something that wasn't in my usual reading genre but at the same time I needed a short book so I wouldn't be spending ages on it as I have a habit of renewing library books a lot so I refuse to borrow something over 400 pages cause I'm lazy I guess! I found the lovely light green and small book, the title grabbed me first because le
Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page)
I enjoyed this book. It was very cliché and it felt a little unrealistic, but it was enjoyable all the same - it was just such an easy read. I thought that the mental health issues were covered quite well but they were described in a very stereotypical manner. The characters were likeable enough and very interesting - they all had distinct feelings and personalities. Though the character development wasn't very deep, I did feel very aware of all of the inpatients of Forest Hill and they were all ...more
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)

Zelah’s stepmother can’t handle her OCD, so she tries to ship her off to a mental hospital. Zelah ends up in Forest Road House under the care and guidance of a lovely female doctor with some other misfits – an anorexic, a cutter, and a mute. There she learns to face her OCD and her abandonment issues with her father.


Zelah is, from what I can gather, bi-racial. Her father is white and it is hinted her mother is black. Zelah has out of control frizzy curly black hair and need
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I picked up Zelah Green on a complete whim. I’m a total sucker for realistic fiction, and OCD is a topic that I always feel drawn to for some reason. Coupled with the fact that it’s set in the UK, I was always going to have to read this one.

Although it’s aimed the younger end of the YA target age group, and therefore perhaps some of the issues are watered down a little, I thoroughly enjoyed the way that Curtis created her characters. Their problems are real, their personalities are big and disti
Jenny / Wondrous Reads
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk-author, for-review

When Zelah Green was originally released as Zelah Green: Queen of Clean, I paid little or no attention to it. I'm not entirely sure why, I just know I didn't give it a second glance. This new cover made me think twice, and I'm really glad I gave it a go. I loved the writing style and Zelah's personality, and am looking forward to reading book 2 as soon as possible.

Zelah has a form of OCD, which makes her jump on a step a certain number of times, wash her hands a certain way, and change her shoes
Jun 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I thought that Zelah Green was quite a short book so it didn’t take me very long to read at all. I quite enjoyed it though.
The only other introduction to OCD that I had ever had was through the television programme, Monk. Zelah Green actually gave me a different perspective on it and made me rethink what OCD was actually like as Zelah was completely different to Monk.
I liked Zelah’s voice and for quite a bit of it I didn’t realise that Zelah was fourteen, she seemed more like a sixteen year old
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
A super short book that makes a huge impact. It's full of fascinating characters and I can't wait to read the next one!
Vee_Bookish // YA Book Blogger
Zelah Green is a wonderfully quick read which I devoured in about an hour. It was great to delve into such a simple story, without loads of characters, complicated plot line and boys with rippling muscles! Okay, so it's not the most realistic but that's the beauty of it - simplicity. Who doesn't enjoy a piece of pure fluff every now and again?

The issues dealt with are OCD, cutting, anorexia and probably a couple of others that I don't remember. These are all mentioned in a very light way and the
Jessica (Jess Hearts Books)
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
I hadn’t heard very much about this book at all other than it kept coming up in my Amazon recommendations, so when I read a book bloggers review and found out that it was about a teenage girl with OCD I knew I just had to buy it and bought it prompt on my next trip to the book shop. I, like Zelah, suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder more commonly known as OCD which I developed in my teen years after going through a rough time. I know that there are a lot of books on depression out there fo ...more
Emma Maher
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another one fights the dust, Zelah Green written by Vanessa Curtis is about a 14 year- old girl named Zelah who has a over cleaning disorder. Not only does human interaction, germs and dirt scare Zelah, she also has a set of rituals she must complete everyday other wise she is convinced something bad will happen, for example she jumps 128 times at the top of the stairs before going down them, scrubs her hands 31 times each and always has her clothing spread exactly 4cm apart in her wardrobe. Zel ...more
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
Sep 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I really loved Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis. I was told beforehand that it's a very loose retelling of Snow White, but if I hadn't known that, it probably wouldn't have been obvious to me while reading it as there is so much that is different. And I do love a really original retelling.

Instead of being perfect and beautiful, like Snow White, Zelah Green has plenty of problems. She begins her story by explaining her unusual name with a really romanticised ideal of what might have happened and the
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I would have given this a 3.5 ranking.

Overall, I liked the book. It glossed over everything in a kind of superficial level and would have been better if there was more depth to it. The ending seemed a little rushed and the situation with her step mother was never explored to my satisfaction. The step mother was more of a caricature than a real person and I feel like there should have been more exposition at the end regarding Zelah's relationship with her father and Heather and the people she lef
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Zelah Green is a interesting book that gives you a inside story of a teenager who has to live with OCD. OCD stands for Obsessive (Compulsive) Cleaning Disorder. Zelah has to jump up and down on the stairs, has to scrub her face a certain amount of time and has other rituals that literally take over her life.

I felt sorry for Zelah and that she has to deal with the disorder and the fact that her dad isn’t around to help her. When she’s send to Forest Hill House, she learns these unique persons tha
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Zelah Green has been sitting on my shelf for the better part of a year and I can’t believe it took me so long to read, for the most part because it’s such a good book but also because it’s quite short.

Zelah Green is a fourteen year old girl with OCD. I could say suffering with but honestly while she considers it an inconvenience at times, Zelah seems to think she’s functioning quite well. One day she comes home from school and finds her stepmother has packed her bags and is sending her to hospit
Jul 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting enough. Zelah has OCD and is deeply germaphobic; her rituals give her comfort, but that comfort comes at a price: she's alienated from most of the people around her, and when her rituals are interrupted life feels exponentially more difficult.

I haven't read a ton about OCD, but I appreciated that in Zelah's case it's taken pretty seriously. I did wish there'd been a bit more development—I don't think I ever got a proper handle on the other characters at the clinic, and there are some
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
For a kids book I thought it was pretty good. Very quick read. Dealt with quite serious issues reasonably well. While some parts were perhaps a little too graphic (mainly the girl who self harms) I do admire that it didn't shy away from it. It made it feel more real and accepted that this is what happens to some people but it doesn't need to and there is help out there to overcome these issues. However, some of the things Zelah was made to do to "get better" were awful and disgusting. That was t ...more
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book lots and thought it did a brilliant job of portraying the mental illness that is OCD. I thought that each patient at Forest Hill was unique and had their own little personality, though felt the author didn't give us enough info on their backgrounds and i also thought that Zelah and Sol needed more of a relationship as i didn't find it very realistic. That said i enjoyed this book lots as it was a quick read but felt it just needed a couple tweeks to make it 5-star-worthy, 4 s ...more
I really enjoyed this! I saw that it wasn't exactly getting fantastic reviews, but, compared to a lot of other books out there - I loved it! I thought the story was engaging and the characters almost immediately likeable. The only thing I thought was a bit extreme was Zelah's showdown with her step-mother - it all seemed a bit extreme. But I loved it!
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was simple, yet memorable.
Zelah Green (the queen of clean) has problems with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
She is a funny, and developing character.
It was so much fun reading in her point of view.
I can't wait to read the second book!
I recommend it for everyone! Its just such a great children's book.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
...aww I was totalt expecting it to be about a lady obsessed with cleaning, oh well. It was a bit too short for my taste but I guess it's long enough for what age range it aims at. The ending was kind of... anti climactic.. And it was never explained why her stepmom didn't just dump her at some other familys house if she didn't want her around :-/
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book really enjoyed it.
The characters were great there is an amazing story but the ending happened way to quickly everything sorta just happened at once and everything was resolved and happy again but besides that an amazing story
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a super cute book. I was a little annoyed with Zelah's extreme OCD but I think she did good and I found the book funny and a fun read. I hope to read the second book soon.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

It was a good story overall, though some parts felt a tad unrealistic and rushed, and it could have been better executed in my opinion.
I read this fascinating book in one sitting. Despite being a relatively short book, I felt that I learnt a great deal about the ordeals that some OCD sufferers go through.
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book I read it when I was on holidays I loved the book but I think it's more for kids we'll I am a kid I am 10yrs old and I loved the book I really recommend it for people my age
I've enjoyed reading this. It was kind of light and fun
Manaia Miller
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really did enjoy this novel. I liked how Zelah wasn't the cliche OCD girl you see in movies who is just fussy, but the author gave her specific rituals and numbers which is very true to what having OCD is like. The only problem I had with the rest of the novel is that all the other characters were so cliche! I think the author put to much depth and dedication into the character of Zelah that the others got lost and stereotypes were thrust upon some of the other characters. Caro for example, th ...more
Connie Foster
Jul 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars.

Okay. Well first off I have to say there is nothing inherently wrong with this book it just really wasn't for me. I guess there are only so many books about people being in treatment you can read before you become entirely bored with the repetitive storyline.

I'm happy zelah wasn't magically cured of her illness. Any one suffering from mental illness knows there is no truth in that. I have read way to many books that make that mistake. The portrayl of mental illness was real and at time
Lauren Roberts
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although this book was aimed at young adults I could really relate to the main character Zelah as I had OCD when I was younger and still have to control compulsions. I thought the subject matter was dealt with in a serious but light heart matter which explained a lot of zelahs issues following her mum's death and her dad's struggle with alcoholism.
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, mental-health
This was a little predictable and unrealistic, though the ending ameliorates that. I feel as though the predictability and straightforwardness is intentional. I'm not sure if that's the best way to reach the audience.

I guess that makes me old.
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I'm a children's author whose first book 'Zelah Green: Queen of Clean' is published by Egmont UK and won the Manchester Children's Book Awards 2010. It was also shortlisted for the 2010 Young Minds, the 2009 Waterstones Children's Book Prize, the NASEN awards and the 2010 Bolton Children's Book Awards. I now write historical novels for young adults, including the Carnegie-longlisted 'The Earth is ...more

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