Friday, 10 September 2010

Review for Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis

I hadn’t heard very much about this book at all other than it kept coming up in my Amazon recommendations, so when I read a book bloggers review and found out that it was about a teenage girl with OCD I knew I just had to buy it and bought it prompt on my next trip to the book shop. I, like Zelah, suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder more commonly known as OCD which I developed in my teen years after going through a rough time. I know that there are a lot of books on depression out there for teens but I haven’t ever heard of one that’s based on OCD before. I think it’s great that Vanessa Curtis decided to write a book on this subject because unfortunately whether we like it or not mental illnesses are on the rise in today’s society and I find that books are a great comfort to those suffering with one. When you’re a teen with a mental illness – no scratch that – anybody with a mental illness a lot of the time people are too ignorant on the subject to see that it is an actual illness and are quick to just label the person as ‘weird’ and when you’re a teen life’s hard enough, add a mental illness on top of that and people avoiding the ‘freak’ it’s possibly one of the hardest times to have to deal with having a mental illness. So I salute Vanessa Curtis for writing this book – hopefully it will make anyone out there going through this feel less alone and help everybody else understand the illness a little better. Zelah Green is a cleanaholic. She spends most of her life sticking to her harsh schedule also know as germ alert and dirt alert. This involves Zelah washing her hands up to 31 times, jumping on the stairs 128 times and having to touch everything with a tissue between her hand and the item. If Zelah doesn’t stick to her rituals or they go wrong she has to do them again to avoid having a panic attack and something bad happening to the people she loves. With her mother dead and her father gone Zelah’s left with her stepmother who can’t stand Zelah’s routines anymore so she ships Zelah off to Forest Hill House to get treatment for her OCD. There Zelah meets Alice the anorexic, Caro the cutter and Silent Sol who’s gorgeous but doesn’t speak to anyone. Zelah’s mortified to be at Forest Hill and worst of all having to live without her routines, but the teens soon become friends and with a little help from each other they help work through their problems and what follows is a heart-warming story that will have you laughing one minute and teary eyed the next. This was a short sweet read that I read in two sittings. Zelah’s an endearing, hilarious character who you can’t help but want the best for. The book remains sweet and funny whilst at the same time deals with some serious issues. At no point did it ever feel heavy so I think that Vanessa Curtis got this just right for the teen reader. I immediately after finishing this bought the sequel Zelah Green: One More Little Problem and I can’t wait to read more of Zelah’s adventures and struggles with OCD. Recommended whether you want a funny, quick, quirky read or whether you want to learn more about teens with a mental illness from the view point of lovely awkward Zelah. This book has a nice balance between both making it a very good read indeed. 4 stars. My Rating 4/5 stars ****


  1. Fab review! I've seen this around Amazon recently and it's definitely one I'm thinking of picking up soon!

  2. I heard about this awhile ago, I too suffer from OCD which is why it sparked interest! I also developed it after a rough time in my teen years. It's nice to see something about OCD, there isn't much fiction with it around... and I do find it comforting to read about someone who has my very same struggles!

    Great review!


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