"My Name is Zelah Green and I'm a cleanaholic. I spend most of my life running away from germs. And dirt. And people. And I'm just about doing okay and then my stepmother packs me off to some kind of hospital to live with a bunch of strangers. It's stuck in the middle of nowhere. Great. There's Alice who's anorexic. Caro who cuts herself. Silent Sol who has the cutest smile. And then there's me." Zelah's candid voice allows serious issues to be explored with empathy. With wonderful humor supplementing the emotional heart, this story presents real problems for teenagers while never being being heavy-handed.
Curtis handles severe obsessive-compulsive disorder with a frank, unflinching quality that pulls readers in to Zelah's thoughts and motivations. Though Zelah Green covers dense topics including OCD, anorexia, cutting and anger management problems in teens, this is not a dense read and should appeal to reluctant readers. The subject matter is something that many teens confront either in their own personal lives or through dealings with family and friends. This is a good novel for a Teen Book Club since the subject matter and characters raise interesting discussion points.
Recommended for Readers of: Laurie Halse Anderson, Jay Asher, Julie Hoban, Lauren Oliver
2. Zelah is likeable