There are good books, and there are great books, and then there are books with characters you’ll never forget. Vaughn’s debut about a high school senior whose struggle to fit in is compounded by the social quirks associated with her OCD is definitely one of those rare finds.
Told through a brilliant collection of class assignments, journal entries, emails and “missives” to the school psychologist, Danielle Levine’s story is laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly honest. Hopelessly in love with the completely unattainable Jacob Kingston and plagued by body-image issues and insecurities about her position on the senior-class social ladder, Danielle lands herself in the school psychologist’s office and, even worse, a social-skills class. But just as things look like they couldn’t possibly get any worse, Danielle’s life gradually takes a turn for the better. An oddball collection of new friends, including Daniel, who’s not much taller than she is but has a “personality…well over six feet,” her amazingly supportive Aunt Joyce and Justine, an 80-year-old British tour guide, teach Danielle that there is plenty worth loving, and forgiving, about herself.
Reminiscent of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Vaughn’s work avoids stereotypical pitfalls and deftly tackles the sensitive issue of a teen’s struggle with mental illness with humor and integrity. A must-read. (Fiction. 14 & up)