Since moving to Florida, Fin has felt like her life is spiraling out of control. Her parents split up, she doesn’t have any friends, and, well, it’s just hard. The only thing that brings control and stability to her life is counting. Completing her rituals is one thing she can take control of.
Medication only makes her feel more messed up, and Fin doesn’t really know what to do. Neither does her mother. She does have one person, though, that she’s beginning to feel she can maybe trust and count on: Thayer, a boy in her class at school who, like Fin, doesn’t see the world quite like everyone else.
Total Constant Order is an honest, powerful debut novel that will appeal to all teens, but perhaps particularly to those who have problems of their own (like OCD) that make them “different.” Even though we don’t all have Fin’s problems, though, isn’t that outsider-ness universal? Even if it can’t be diagnosed, there’s something in all of us that makes us feel different, and so we can all relate.
Crissa-Jean Chappell’s novel is a compelling, captivating story that readers will devour. It’s smart and true and wonderful. I love her witty observations of high school life (and life in general). Chappell’s perfectly created, real characters, a story that needs to be told, and Fin’s distinctive voice combine to create a brilliant first novel that will ring true with readers. I also particularly enjoy books that make use of setting, and I like the glimpse we get into Fin’s Miami (and, in fact, would have liked to see a little more of this–but that’s just me, as I love interesting settings). Chappell is a talented new writer, a fresh new voice in YA fiction, and I am greatly looking forward to reading whatever she writes in the future.