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 Green is a normal teen with an abnormal obsession. Since her mother passed away years ago, and her dad married her stepmother, she couldn't help but wash herself and her home way too clean. Every night, before going to sleep, she makes over a hundred jumps and washes both her hands 31 times each and scrubs her face raw until it stings. She somehow has the feeling that if she started her rituals earlier, her mom would not die. One day, she was sent to a "house for problematic teens" by her neighbor Heather, as instructed by her stepmother. And what's worse was that her dad was missing.
This book is told with such honesty that it keeps my attention all along. It deals with various teenage issues: anorexia, OCD, self-mutilation. I can feel Zelah's annoyance/slight anger over the lie her mother told her, which was her name and her very existence. I can feel her loneliness and frustration of losing her mother. Zelah made new friends at the new residence, and even though she felt out of place at first, she gradually grew to like that place and resisted when her stepmother intended to bring her back. Even though it was very hard for her, she tried her best to cope with her 'sickness' and even did what the Doc told her to do, such as turning on the tap without using a tissue as a barrier between her fingers and the cold metal, or reducing her number of jumps and touching the toilet bowl.
Zelah Green is a likable book, but I think the minor characters are not well-developed. It would be great if I get to know a back-story about their respective lives and why they are problematic. Zelah Green is a quick, interesting read, but there is still room for improvement.
Zelah Green: One More Little Problem by Vanessa Curtis
Paperback, 240 pages
My name is Zelah Green—and I’m still here. Summer's supposed to be good, right? But I'm stuck at home with a lousy laptop, stacks of homework to start and dad being more useless than ever. And then Caro turns up out of the blue, all heavy metal and piercings and attitude and my boring summer's turned upside down. It’s like she knows just what to say to wind me up, sending my OCD right out of control.
Zelah Green is back. This time, one of the residents of "house of problematic teens" --- Caro, shows up on her doorstep randomly (or perhaps planned), carrying a luggage and declaring that she is staying with Zelah and her dad.
In this second installment of the Zelah Green series, our main character is ready to find some love - through a website called mysortaspace.com, which is some sort like a dating website. She uses this chance to reconcile with her ex-best friend under the critical eye of Caro.
Unexpectedly, she receives two messages and decides to go on blind dates with the accompaniment of her best friend. And the second one turns out to be a surprise. :)
This book is quite enjoyable in terms of the content, writing style and message. I like the cover too, it portrays Zelah's problem well. Her OCD gets out of control with the arrival of Caro, but she finally manages to get a grip on her sickness when she realizes that everyone can be weak at times and needs comfort from others.
- Jennifer Kean from Hardie Grant Australia for providing these books.
- She Known As Jess Blogspot for the chance to win these books.
- My dear cousin, Li Ting, to have her mum bring it back to me all the way from Australia.