Vanessa Curtis's Zelah Green: One More Little Problem, is the next in this series about a teenage girl with OCD. The review copy came in the mail in the midst of my back going out, and I spent an afternoon in bed reading, which reminded me of much of my adolescence. Curtis has a good grasp of how stress can make rituals worse, and the double-edged sword of getting immediate relief of anxiety by doing the rituals, but the ultimate pain caused when they interfere with important things like friendship, love and family. I was moved by the description of Zelah holding her father's time for the first time since she was twelve, and how his skin felt.
Zelah's therapist, Stella, is concerned that Zelah is trying to take control of all the out of control things in her life during her summer "off"(which is anything but off from her anxieties), including her father being out of work, Caro from her time at Forest Hill showing up on the doorstep, and the most stable adult in her life, Heather, being out of the the country.
"Hmm," said Stella. "The thing is, Zelah, that none of the things happening in your house should really be your responsibility at all. I am not surprised your rituals are getting worse."But for Zelah, calling her therapist if things get overwhelming seems alien. There's something about being that age, and just assuming that of course it's your responsibility, and the OCD compounding this by offering a glimpse of control, an illusion that if you do the rituals, the anxiety and fear will go away. Fortunately, Zelah also has friends, who help her make connections to both herself and to adults who can help.
Review of the first novel in the series: