Estelle: OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann HayduOCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 352
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: OCD, friendship, therapy, romance
Format read: ARC Paperback provided by Simon Teen (Thanks!)

Summary: During a blackout at a school dance, Bea meets Beck and helps him through a panic attack. She has no idea what he looks like until he shows up in her group therapy session at Dr. Pat’s. Bea is sure her and Beck have a ton in common, but her feelings for him don’t stop her from fixating on a musician, pinching her thigh, or saying the first thing that pops into her head. Her relationship with Beck isn’t the only thing on shaky ground; there’s also the future of her best friendship, and most importantly, the struggle to accept who she is and work through her past.

This book. THIS book.

Even though I loved them for the unique stories they were, I can only compare my OCD Love Story reading experience to Wild Awake. The cover promised me this bright, happy story and the inside gave me something entirely different. A female character dealing with demons, in denial about those demons, and going through hell to hopefully move one step forward. (Whether she knows it or not.) Both debuts are filled with bittersweet moments, difficult moments, happy/sweet moments, and force you to really take your time going through the pages. Both authors are extremely talented; great language usage and a main character full of personality. And just like with Wild Awake, I want you to love OCD Love Story as much as I did.

Bea has such an enthusiastic personality. She wants to be a costume designer. She likes hot chocolate. She loves boys! She also enjoys listening into her therapist’s session before hers. The compelling and beautiful couple that have sort of a sexless marriage. Then she starts noting their secrets in a mini notebook, and driving by their place… and things get messy. Even though Bea has been actively in therapy for a period of time and is now taking part in an OCD therapy group, she is convinced she is not the weird one. That she’s not ripping her hair out of her head or washing her hands until the skin flakes off so she is okay compared to everyone else.

The realization that she is not and can’t grasp exactly what she is doing — jeopardizing her best friendship, halting her potential romance with fellow OCD groupee, Beck — is painful to watch unfold. I had to close the book a few times and take a deep breath because I just wanted to help Bea and make it all better. But I couldn’t. Haydu does a great job showcasing different OCD cases without making it feel medicial or too technical. Instead there is always that underlying feeling that dealing with OCD is a process and even making strides does not mean you are all “fixed.”

As for romance, I really liked Bea and Beck together even though I couldn’t quite tell if they would get it together. At one point, Bea says something to Beck like: Let’s stop being weird about the shit that we do. But even this acceptance that Beck is obsessed with working out or Bea drives super slow on the highway no matter what the weather doesn’t always mean sunshine and butterflies for them. Their connection is strong and they do understand each other, but sometimes you are not sure if they are actually helping one another or enabling in some way. I was rooting for them so much, both individually and as a couple.

OCD Love Story is so skillfully written: from the vibrant dialogue to the hard to read moments and also to the detail planting that Haydu does so well. She carefully plops in little clues, meant to explain the events that led to Bea becoming so fixated on certain things. I was actively telling myself to pay attention to those small facts, stringing them together until the whole story pieced together rather nicely.

My favorite stories of any genre are the ones that make me curious, leave me thinking about the characters way after I’m finished with the book. I’m still wondering if Bea’s best friend was actually just a good friend or totally cold-hearted and not understanding enough. I’m thinking about Dr. Pat and her way she worked with her patients. And what about the musician and his wife? Haydu gives us such a multi-dimensional story that I feel like I need to read it again to pick up all the great details she lovingly pieced together in this story. Most importantly, she gave us a character to really care about even when it hurt to do so.

All I can say is: Bravo.

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13 thoughts on “Estelle: OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

  1. Natalie @ books, etc says:

    The fact that you compared the experience of reading this book to how you felt reading Wild Awake has me even more excited to read OCD Love Story! Wild Awake was fantastic, and if this is anything like this I know I will be falling in love with it. And I love the cover of the book, even if it is a little misleading!

  2. Alexa Y. says:

    I think I really need to read this book, and I love that it’s so conveniently out tomorrow πŸ˜‰ It sounds like the main character’s issues are really tackled in a unique, intelligent, believable way, and I like the sound of that quite a lot! Bea seems like she’d been a very interesting character to read about.

  3. Bookworm1858 says:

    I really enjoyed this book-it was so painful at times (I had to step back from the story a few times as well) but so worth it. Bea had so many facets and was such a lively personality-I loved getting to meet her and hope others will too!

  4. Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    OH WOW. Okay, definitely moving this one up. I have it out as one of my “next-reads” but you have me like all goose-bumpy that I need to start it TODAY. (Did I just creep you out? I hope not.) Anyway, meeting this author and getting to talk to her in NY about her experience writing this book was really awesome but I also enjoy watching her tweet about her writing experiences. I know she’s tweeting NOT THIS BOOK but a newer book, but I still love how she thinks so deeply about everything and wants to make her words just-so and make it WORK. I can tell that applies here, in retrospect too. And this cover, it just pops, but to me it pops in a way that I expect it not to be bubbly. I don’t know. I already was super excited to read it but wow, I think you may have rearranged my pile today, E. That’s awesome.

  5. Tara says:

    I keep seeing this book pop up everywhere but I don’t think I’ve seen it compared to Wild Awake before. I absolutely loved Wild Awake, so now you’ve totally sold me πŸ™‚

  6. Racquel says:

    I didn’t want to read OCD Love Story because it seemed to cutesy for me (from my comments tonight, we learn that Racquel is really judgmental lol) but when it was released and all the “happy book birthday” tweets and reviews rolled in, I read a review that also said the book is more than the summary and cover and that it made them uncomfortable and they had to put it down too so now I really want to read nothing but THIS book. I already ordered it and I can’t wait to get back to the US so I can read this one and Wild Awake.

  7. Shanella says:

    I started reading this book on Pulseit but didn’t have time to finish. I was only about 10% in and didn’t get hooked, but I did see it had potential. I’m glad you liked it, this means I can put it on my TBR shelf πŸ™‚

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