Rating: 4 stars
Daniel resides on the cusp of popularity. He’s a backup kicker for the football team, and his best friend is popular enough to keep Daniel on the fringe. Despite his social status, he tries to make an effort at hiding, trying to cover up his uncontrollable odd behaviours he can’t survive without doing. As the story unfolds, a mysterious letter from a quite girl nicknamed “Psycho Sarah” brings Daniel into a mystery, and a deeper understanding of himself.
I was fortunate enough to catch Wesley King talking about his book “OCDaniel” and I’d had it on my radar ever since. A novel concept – a book about OCD for younger readers. Having had OCD at a younger age himself, King recognized a hole in the literature and created a book for those poor kids who are perhaps too young to realize that they don’t suffer alone. This book is nothing like King’s other books, which have been quite popular in my middle grade library.
Daniel is a complicated character with a lot going on inside his head. He spends so much of his time focussing on how he appears on the outside, what 12-year-old can’t relate to that?
There’s just so much about this book that is relatable. His friendships are real, the pressures he feels, the expectations, he’s a little bit lost, trying to find his way through the mess of middle school
His relationship with his parents seems a bit odd to me. I’m surprised that the parents are less aware of his behaviours, but their lack of awareness does help propel the story forward.
Recommendations: It is a very character driven book. The plot is a bit of a side note, so if you can’t get behind the character, this book may not be for you. It is however a perfect middle grade book dealing with mental illness.