Zelah Green: One More Little Problem by Vanessa Curtis
|Zelah Green: One More Little Problem by Vanessa Curtis
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: Second book about an OCD sufferer whose life conspires to challenge her. Funny and sweet but serious too - wholeheartedly recommended for late tween and early teen girls.
|Date: July 2010
|External links: Author's website
We first met Zelah when her OCD got so bad she was sent off to a live-in centre for treatment. She's at home now, with the OCD still around but not totally debilitating. She's still jumping on the stairs - but not so many jumps and not so often. She's still scrubbing her face, but it isn't quite red raw. You'd call her overly fastidious rather than ill. And her therapist is pleased with her progress. But then...
... stepmother Heather goes off on a business trip, drink gets the better of Dad again, and Caro - the self-harming, Marilyn Manson-loving rebel from Forest Hill - turns up and shows no sign of going home again, and jeopardises Zelah's gradual rapprochement with ex-best friend Fran. And Zelah does her best to cope, she really does. But it's going to take a great deal of step jumping and face-scrubbing to manage.
I loved Zelah first time around and I loved her again in this second story about her. Curtis has a tremendously light touch, so readers get a blend of tween romcom and issue-based fiction. Zelah herself is a wonderfully sympathetic character. She has a great deal of self-knowledge and talks about her OCD with wry humour so when readers laugh it's with her, not at her. And as they see how involuntary her condition is, and how it gets worse as the stress in her life increases, they'll gain a real understanding of life in someone else's shoes.
Better still, there's a slightly subversive element to the story - the adults in Zelah's life do tend to her let her down. Her father thinks of himself, not of his daughter. Her stepmother goes away, even though she's perfectly well aware of Zelah's fragility and Dad's flakiness. And Fran's snobby mother doesn't want her precious daughter associating with a "weirdo". Ultimately, it's down to vulnerable Zelah to sort herself out, and the only real help she gets is from the equally vulnerable Caro and Fran, another peer. I quite like stories in which the children are nicer people than the adults. It reminds me of Roald Dahl.
It's funny and sweet but serious too, and comes wholeheartedly recommended for late tween and early teen girls.
My thanks to the good people at Egmont for sending the book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Zelah Green: One More Little Problem by Vanessa Curtis at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Zelah Green: One More Little Problem by Vanessa Curtis at Amazon.com.
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