July 19, 2014

Multiple Choice - by Janet Tashjian

Terrible cover, I know!  Perhaps you know this author better by her My Life as a Book series, which is great.  This book is also good, but it's a different kind of story.

It's all about Monica, a teen girl who has a terrible time making decisions. It's worse than that: She has OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  She's basically a perfectionist whose anxiety is getting in the way of living a normal life, and her family and friends are totally frustrated with her.  Nobody can help her, and she doesn't seem to be able to help herself, until...

Scrabble.  It's a wonderful game, and kind of explains those squares on the cover of the book, but it also kind of saved Monica's life.  You see, she came up with a game called Multiple Choice, in which she would give herself options for what to do next, and she would draw Scrabble tiles to see which thing she would have to do.  It allowed her to move forward without locking up her brain like would normally happen, and it led to some funny and unexpected outcomes.  In fact, Monica began to think that the game was saving her life and restoring her to "normal" status.  Of course, it's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

In this case, Monica's game caused both emotional and physical harm to her friends, but she just couldn't seem to stop playing.  Could her cure become an even bigger problem than what it was trying to fix?

It's actually a really good story, telling a realistic and interesting tale of a likable and believable girl who struggles with the same thing that many girls do: anxiety.  I think most girls would like this story, and even though it's old and has a ridiculous-looking cover, it's worth checking out.

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