Senior goofball Chuck Taylor has struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder all his life, and his crush on the new girl in school pushes him to deal with it. Finally.
When Amy Huntington walks into his calculus class, Chuck’s jaw drops in pure teenage-boy lust. When she asks him to tutor him for her calculus AP exam, he knows something’s up. Add his hilarious BFF Steve, who pines after Chuck’s bitchy younger sister, a couple of douchey school bullies and a psychiatrist who speaks using only questions, and Karo has all the beginnings of a madcap coming-of-age first novel. For the most part Chuck’s agreeably foul-mouthed narrative voice rings totally true: Everything from his laugh-out-loud repartee with Steve to his inner longing and lusting for Amy feels fully fleshed and real. There are moments when he seems too observant or too full of wisdom for his own good, but those times are few and far between. Short chapters and clever pacing help Karo’s plot move quickly. Strangely enough, the only piece of this debut that feels forced is Chuck’s OCD. While his instincts and reactions to triggers seem authentic, at times the descriptions of his illness feel like they’re coming more from a textbook than a teenage boy.
Still, Karo is definitely an author to watch. (Fiction. 14 & up)