A teen with Tourette syndrome works through a list of life-altering actions, including possible suicide.
When Troy’s Tourette syndrome emerged at age 6, a therapist suggested counting to 10 to ease his anxiety. The therapist also unknowingly instilled the number 10 into Troy’s comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder thoughts and rituals. To recognize the 10th anniversary of his diagnosis, the high school sophomore has created a List of Ten with action items to take back his life from the disorder that controls it. This story by an author with Tourette syndrome delivers a painfully realistic depiction of living with chronic conditions, trying to fight them, and being bullied for them. Some of the items on Troy’s list even elicit pain, from meeting someone else with Tourette to seeking the mother who abandoned him, a Tourette sufferer as well. However, other goals, like driving a car and experiencing his first kiss, emerge from newfound friendships and tender scenes of first love and budding sexuality with girlfriend Khory. As Troy begins living on his own terms, he also approaches the last item on his list—commit suicide. Although the hopeful ending feels too quick and tidy, Troy’s first-person narrative shows understanding of neurodiverse individuals. Troy and Khory are White by default; some mutual friends are racially diverse.
An authentic and compassionate look at the ups and downs of teenage life and living with Tourette syndrome.(discussion questions, author's note) (Fiction. 14-18)