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“OCDaniel” by Wesley King

--Staff Picks Kids


Wesley King
Published: 2016
Age Range: 8-12
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Mystery
Awards: Bank Street Best Book of the Year, Silver Birch Award Winner

Joan read OCDaniel and this is what she thought…

Daniel is a typical eighth-grader. He’s desperate to fit in, to make his father proud, and hide the fact that he thinks he might be crazy. He’s pretty busy with school and football (and Zaps and Routines), but then he gets a mysterious note that changes everything. This book was written by Wesley King, an author who actually has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and I found it really heart-breaking and informative to see the daily struggles of someone who suffers with this disorder. There are lots of emotions in this book, mostly stemming from Daniel’s thoughts and actions. While there are a lot of sad points watching him try to hide and manage his “crazy,” it’s also inspiring to see him begin to understand his OCD.

My favorite scene occurs towards the end of the book when Daniel is about to kick in the Big Game, and Sara holds up a sign for him. I loved the support she showed for him, and how it allowed Daniel to let go of his worries and just kick. If I was going to change anything about the book, I would question why we needed to keep seeing the story Daniel was writing. This story within a story also confused me a bit since the characters were named Daniel and Sara.

OCDaniel has adventure and mystery, but the really important theme is Daniel’s search to find himself – and if he’s really “crazy.” The adventure and mystery of the story are played out through Daniel and Sara’s search for “a murderer,” which is when he starts to spend time with Sara. This relationship begins to change him by having someone who understands the things he deals with firsthand. Sara is the one who introduces the concept of OCD to Daniel, and this information lets him start to understand his need to complete his “routines.”

Who would you recommend this book to?

OCDaniel would be a great title for anyone to build a sense of empathy for what people with any type of disability go through. While I found many sad moments in this book, I really enjoyed experiencing Daniel’s journey to begin to understand his behaviors and motivations.