Kirkus Reviews QR Code
TOTAL CONSTANT ORDER by Crissa-Jean Chappell

TOTAL CONSTANT ORDER

By Crissa-Jean Chappell

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-088605-9
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

This study in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder tracks four miserable months in the life of narrator Fin, a freshman at Miami-Dade High. Fin counts incessantly, performs small rituals, washes her hands over and over and sometimes gouges them with tweezers. A move from Vermont to Florida, followed by her parents’ divorce, has intensified her compulsions. She has only one friend, a hyperactive stoner with problems of his own. Her mother, who has untreated OCD, mostly carps at Fin and cleans the house. Her father is barely present. Even Fin’s therapist appears to be incompetent. She puts Fin on Paxil, fails to warn her about side effects and apparently doesn’t consult with Fin’s mother. The Paxil makes Fin much worse. Readers learn about OCD and something about its treatment. Those who enjoy steeping themselves in the bleakness of modern life will be in their element here among concrete McMansions and a grimy school with hostile students. While strong on atmosphere, this long novel has little plot and only a few moments of drama near the end. (Fiction. YA)