OCD Love StoryFeatured
In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.
When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.
But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.
Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down...and she might end up breaking her own heart.
OCD Love Story is one of those books that I think I'm going to love in retrospect. It's a painful read, one that actually sort of grated on my brain. The description calls it "raw," which is apt, and relatable, which it wasn't really for me. In the end, I'm really impressed with Haydu's debut, but largely undecided on just how I feel about it, and I already know I'll have to sit on it for a while and reread to really process my feelings about Haydu's debut.
There is no doubt in my mind that OCD Love Story is brilliantly done. Haydu approaches OCD with honesty, and I learned a lot about OCD from this novel. I always thought I might be a little bit OCD, but, wow, I was wrong. The compulsions that Bea and the rest of her group have are nothing like my desire to listen to music at volumes that are either multiples of two or five. OCD isn't pretty. Even though the goal of these behaviors is to give the person a feeling of safety or order, the end result is not that.
Unlike the cover says so many times, Bea is not stalking a boy in OCD Love Story, though she did have a history of that. She's stalking a man, Austin, and his wife, Sylvia, who have the session before her with Dr. Pat. She overheard snippets of their session, and started a notebook about them. From there, she began to worry about their safety, felt the need to check in on them or she would be overcome with anxiety. On top of that, she's terrified of sharp objects, afraid that she'll hurt someone with them, can't drive above 30 miles an hour, because she thinks she'll hit someone, and pinches her thigh to a blue/black mess. Bea's issues are believable, but they were really hard for me to personally relate to. At the same time, this frank portrayal was great, because it really opened up my mind to different ways of thinking and being, which is one of the things I love about literature.
The romance depicted in OCD Love Story is really touching, actually. For a moment, I was afraid it would go to creepy Juno-like places with the Austin stalking, but it didn't thankfully. Right at the beginning, Bea meets a guy in a blackout and makes out with him. She meets him again in OCD group therapy, and he's just her type (huge and muscular and difficult to hurt). Beck and Bea are both incredibly messed up teens and seriously in denial about that. What I love about their romance, though, is it shows that love isn't skin deep and isn't just about perfection. In YA, the heroine and hero are generally idealized and perfect. Beck and Bea are not that, but it doesn't mean they can't find someone to love them, which is such a great message. Plus, their relationship has problems, but they work on it and stay together. It's not magically perfect or that the world wants to keep them apart.
OCD Love Story made me want to go into the book so that I could sit Bea down and give her a talking to. Beck too. Their compulsions are so hard for me to really understand. However, I loved the way that Haydu brought it all together in the end, as you find out what happened to Beck and Bea in the past. Their compulsions come from logical places, but practical concerns are taken to a level that's beyond rationality.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Perhaps I'll change my mind on this later, but, for now, the reading experience was sort of unpleasant. Worth pushing through, certainly, but reading this book almost physically hurt. This is obviously a sign that Haydu has done her work and done it well. You're meant to be uncomfortable, because that's what it's like to be Bea. Even though I know this is a sign of quality, it did lessen my liking of the book a bit. A reread might change my mind, but for now...
Aside from that, the writing style didn't really appeal to me. It fits Bea very well, but I didn't much care for it. That's a very personal thing, of course, and Haydu did do a great job with the voice overall, but it's just not my favorite writing style.
The Final Verdict:
Lovers of honest books about hard subjects will not want to miss OCD Love Story. This is a book that will make you think and make you feel awkwardness and pain for the characters.
Again I was pleasantly surprised. The author handled it with candor and honesty. No sugarcoating here. She did an excellent job of getting to the nitty gritty about this stuff. While making sure that the portrayal of OCD was accurate,she also created likable characters. Despite not being as severely affected as Bea, I saw so much of myself in Bea. I didn't take it to the level that she did,but my compulsions are very similar.
At times I found myself frustrated with Bea's friend Lisha. I know it's not easy to watch a friend deal with OCD,but she didn't seem to realize that Bea didn't want to have OCD. She wanted to be normal. Lisha seemed to be embarrassed by her towards the end. I kept yelling at the book (well technically at Lisha) that Bea needed support. She didn't need her only female friend to be,excuse my french, a total bitch. I really wished that Lisha tried to understand OCD a bit better. She needed to be aware that Bea didn't want to have to do all these things. She didn't want to be essentially controlled by her compulsions.
Oh Beck, how awesome he was. Despite his OCD-ness, I really liked him and I think he really liked Bea as well. I think at times he grew frustrated with Bea's apparent refusal to work on the compulsions. But I also think that Bea worried about Beck's various compulsions.
I liked the other characters in the group as well. Watching the progress they made in therapy was wonderful. I think reading this book could definitely silence those who don't put much stock into therapy. I liked Dr. Pat too. There were times, albeit, only a few times that I really wondered if she was really helping these teens or if they were helping themselves and each other.
Austin and Sylvia,the objects of Bea's obsession were quirky. I am still not sure how I felt about them. Yes they were kind to Bea which was a good thing. Towards the end,they really started to drive me crazy.
Overall, I really, really loved this book. It was full of likable characters and I identified so much with the main female character. It's not going to be a book for everyone because it's definitely not a light and fluffy read. It's raw and gritty and above all, it's real. Five stars to this relatable book and wonderfully real characters.