Review: OCD Love Story

I received this book for free from YA Books Central in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: OCD Love StoryOCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
Published by Simon Pulse on July 23, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central

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.

First Sentence: “Lucky for me, I don’t get panicky in small dark spaces or anything.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

Favorite Quote: “It’s like, I’m scared and there’re a lot of ugly things, but I’d rather be shipwrecked on this lovely island than safe in a sad, gray cell.”

26 responses to “Review: OCD Love Story”

  1. Katie says:

    I’m definitely going to have to check this one out. I love books about tough subjects and this is one I haven’t read about yet.

    Also, just like you, I thought I was a little OCD but clearly I am not.

    Great review!

  2. Amy says:

    I actually kind of love when a book makes you feel like the character feels. Like when a character is going crazy and you almost feel like you are too. I think that while reading I would be a bit put off by it, but in the end I think I would like that it was able to make me feel a bit uncomfortable. Great review hon!!

    • Christina says:

      This is my conundrum and why I wasn’t sure what to rate it. I think I might go change my rating. Haha. She did a great job, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience, but it wasn’t meant to be and AGH.

    • Amy says:

      Haha! I can see why that would make it hard. I guess I will have to read it myself to see. 🙂

  3. Giselle says:

    Oh this sounds really good I remember Jenni liked this one, too! Plus your tweet about making you uncomfortable totes intrigued me! >.< It def sounds like a book you have to mentally prepare for for the unpleasantness it gives off. I have a cousin in law who's pretty badly OCD so I'M always curious to get into the heads of people who have these intense compulsions. I think everyone feels they're a little bit OCD but it's never comparable to people who have the actual disorder where it disrupts their lives and everything. I wouldn't have thought this book was so honest and serious looking at the cover.

    • Christina says:

      She did. She loved it to pieces! Oh yeah, she’s just really unflinching with all the darkness that OCD behaviors bring to Bea’s life. I just never knew it was so severe and just WOW.

  4. Audra says:

    Ooooh, I love/hate it when this happens with books I read. Sometimes I love the books I hate the most!

  5. I’ve been wanting to read this one for awhile. I have OCD and while it’s not severe,it is noticeable. I am hoping that this book can do the tough subject justice.

  6. Yay for emotional romance! Can’t get enough of those, especially since all the romances nowadays seem to be bordering on annoying, with all these bad boys and good girls falling for them (as if it wasn’t already stupid to have uncontrollable hormones; now we have to fall for bad boys with hair straight from a shampoo commercial?!). And the premise for this book sounds so different from what the cover proclaimed. Definitely more interested in this now. Great review!

  7. You did such a good job of showing how torn you are on this one, Christina! I really liked how uncomfortable it made me feel, it was really authentic to what the story was about. Also, how weird was the romance between Beck and Bea? I didn’t think I would fall into it as much as I did but I loved watching them break down each other’s walls!

    • Christina says:

      Thanks! I think I’ll like it down the road, but it was a painful read. The romance was so strange. They really sort of needed that, someone to accept them dry hands and all.

  8. I’ve heard that this is one of those books that’s hard to read. I think it looks really interesting, but I’m not sure if it’s one I want to go out of my way to read. Fantastic review!

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

  9. I have seen this book on so many different blogs and everyone says amazing things about it. I’m going to have to read this now.

  10. Dana says:

    I have this one ready to read but the reviews that have started hitting my favorite blogs are making me second guess myself. I’m not sure this is something that I am going to enjoy. I’ll give it a try since I own a copy but…*shrugs*

    • Christina says:

      I think it’s worth a try. It’s one of those books I’m keeping, because I think I’ll love it in the long run, even if it still hurts now.

  11. oh God this sounds like an AMAZING read!!! The cover is gorgeous, and the story sounds very appealing to me! I know a lot of things about OCD, so I would love to see how the author portrays it here! Great review!
    – Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  12. Bookworm1858 says:

    What a great review! I really struggled to put my thoughts in order about this excellent harrowing read. I’m so glad I checked it out because it was definitely worth it. I wonder what a reread will illuminate for you-interested to see if you do a follow-up review.

    • Christina says:

      Awww, thanks. It was a bit of a struggle for me too. I usually know just how I feel, and not in this case. I will rereview, but it will probably be a few years down the road.

  13. Judith says:

    Oh god, I really want to read this book now! I like that you said it’s one of those books you’ll love in retrospect, because that happens to me a lot with difficult books like this one. Though I don’t think this books sounds very enjoyable, it does sound SO interesting! Like you, I thought I might be a little OCD but um. Probably not I guess XD Can’t wait to check this out. Great review! 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Definitely interesting, and you’re probably not OCD. They’re all OCD to the degree of like self-harm, and I doubt you are. I mean, I’m sure it can be more mild than that, but I don’t think I’ll make comments about how some weird behavior of mine is OCD anymore.

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