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Total Constant Order [Paperback]

Crissa-Jean Chappell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 11 2007

Fin can't stop counting. She's always heard a voice inside her head, ordering her to listen, but ever since she's moved to the Sunshine State and her parents split up, numbers thump like a metronome, rhythmically keeping things in control. When a new doctor introduces terms such as "clinical depression" and "OCD" and offers a prescription for medication, the chemical effects make Fin feel even more messed up. Until she meets Thayer, a doodling, rule-bending skater who buzzes to his own beat—and who might just understand Fin's hunger to belong, and her struggle for total constant order.

Crissa-Jean Chappell's candid and vividly told debut novel shares the story of a young teen's experience with obsessive compulsive disorder and her remarkable resolve to find her own inner strength.


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Product Description

Review

“Likable characters and an intense pace.” (School Library Journal)

“Plenty of kids, OCD or not, will…find the exploration of disorder and identity thought-provoking.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“Readers, especially those stuck with their own annoying rituals, will recognize the anger, the anxiety, and the longing for escape.” (ALA Booklist)

“This must-have story is fresh. Chappell’s first novel is a breakthrough.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review))

About the Author

Crissa-Jean Chappell's reviews, short stories, and poems have appeared in many magazines. A professor of creative writing, she lives in Miami, Florida, where she often looks for manatees. This is her first novel.


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars definite read for you and your teen March 19 2008
By Heather Pearson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Being a teenager never was 'easy', but add depression and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) on top, and you have one tough life for our main character Fin. She is in her first year of high school after moving states with her mother. The stress of the move seems to have aggravated the OCD, and she needs help.

I found that this book deals with Fin's mental health issues in a very open and straight forward manner. Nothing is sugar coated or hidden. The discussion of the drug Paxil is very brief, though I suppose you have to take such short cuts if you want to keep your teenage audience interested. I liked that the author did show the development of a trusting relationship between Fin and her doctor. I understand that teens have a harder time opening up to adults than they do with their peers. Her unlikely friend Thayer, who has mental health issues as well,seems to spring up quickly. Its interesting how the friendship between the two of them works to both their benefit. They each need something in their life that the other unwittingly provides.

I would heartily recommend this book to any teenager with or without their own mental health challenges. It just might give them the tools they need to help a friend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Feb. 13 2008
Format:Paperback
Rhythm is the pulse of life. Everything has rhythm. The waves in the ocean, cars buzzing down the highway, the drip of the rain after a spring shower, the pencil scraping across our paper, even our own pulse in our ears, late at night when all should be quiet.

Fin doesn't know quiet. For her, the rhythm has become more than a beat. It's an obsession. It's good luck to turn a light on three times -- the wrong number could be deadly. The roar of numbers in her head blocks the outside chaos. They offer comfort. Stability. She taps her seat three times. Someone touches her shoulder. She touches the opposite one. It's about keeping life in balance. Control.

Control is something Fin lost when her parents uttered those devastating words, "...this doesn't mean we're abandoning you or that we don't love you anymore." The D-word. Moving from a place she loves, to a place she doesn't. Her mother copes by excessive cleaning. Fin copes by counting.

Soon, Fin's mother has her visiting Dr. Calaban. Fin meets Thayer, who is also being treated by Dr. Calaban, but for ADD. Fin discovers there's a name for what she's feeling: OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She wonders if it's hereditary as her mother rewashes the jeep Fin's just finished washing. With the help of Thayer and Dr. Calaban, Fin rediscovers her love of something she'd lost along the way, something that will help calm the need for total constant order.

TOTAL CONSTANT ORDER is a riveting first novel by debut author Crissa-Jean Chappell. I was sad to end the book because I wanted to spend more time with the characters. I kept trying to slow down as I read, to linger and enjoy, but it was impossible. Each chapter drove me forward to the next and the next until the final page. The characters were fresh and real. I know you'll enjoy them as much as I did!

Reviewed by: Cana Rensberger
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Feb. 13 2008
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Rhythm is the pulse of life. Everything has rhythm. The waves in the ocean, cars buzzing down the highway, the drip of the rain after a spring shower, the pencil scraping across our paper, even our own pulse in our ears, late at night when all should be quiet.

Fin doesn't know quiet. For her, the rhythm has become more than a beat. It's an obsession. It's good luck to turn a light on three times -- the wrong number could be deadly. The roar of numbers in her head blocks the outside chaos. They offer comfort. Stability. She taps her seat three times. Someone touches her shoulder. She touches the opposite one. It's about keeping life in balance. Control.

Control is something Fin lost when her parents uttered those devastating words, "...this doesn't mean we're abandoning you or that we don't love you anymore." The D-word. Moving from a place she loves, to a place she doesn't. Her mother copes by excessive cleaning. Fin copes by counting.

Soon, Fin's mother has her visiting Dr. Calaban. Fin meets Thayer, who is also being treated by Dr. Calaban, but for ADD. Fin discovers there's a name for what she's feeling: OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She wonders if it's hereditary as her mother rewashes the jeep Fin's just finished washing. With the help of Thayer and Dr. Calaban, Fin rediscovers her love of something she'd lost along the way, something that will help calm the need for total constant order.

TOTAL CONSTANT ORDER is a riveting first novel by debut author Crissa-Jean Chappell. I was sad to end the book because I wanted to spend more time with the characters. I kept trying to slow down as I read, to linger and enjoy, but it was impossible. Each chapter drove me forward to the next and the next until the final page. The characters were fresh and real. I know you'll enjoy them as much as I did!

Reviewed by: Cana Rensberger
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent look into OCD Nov. 13 2007
By Bri - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
According to the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, over 35 million Americans will suffer with an anxiety disorder or depressive illness each year. Also, "OCD strikes about 1 in 40 adults and about 1 in 100 school-aged children." Despite these statistics, only a few novels dare to approach the issue.

Crissa-Jean Chappell's debut novel, Total Consant Order, tackles this issue deftly, in the story of Fin, who develops depression and OCD after the demise of her parent's marriage. What enhances the novel is the author's personal connection to the issue. She herself experienced depression and was treated with Paxil. Chappell takes a slow and steady route with the novel, and builds the anxious inner world of Fin carefully. We're introduced to Thayer, an outsider, the only kindred spirit in Fin's world, and who might be the only one who can truly understand her.

Chappell doesn't go to extremes, aiming for maximum drama, and treating her novel as if it were a Lifetime movie. The prose is crisp and clean, with each word working to envoke a feeling from a reader. The novel balances Fin's search for stability with her counting obsession with the search for relationship with her mother, and reconciling with the idea of her parents divorce. Fin's reaction to Paxil comes as a crushing blow to her emotional and physical health, and the author writes realistically, channelling her own experience, and giving voice to a disorder that affects so many.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic portrayal of a teen with OCD Nov. 1 2007
By Kim Baccellia, "YA Books Central reviewer" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fin hears numbers. Ever since her parents divorce, numbers thump in her head in rhythm, keeping things in control. When a new doctor introduces her to the term, "OCD" and writes a prescription for medication, the chemical effects make Fin feel even worse. That is until she meet Thayer, a doodling skater who buzzes to his own beat and might just understand Fin's need to belong and her struggle for total constant order.

Crissa-Jean Chappell's paints a realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a teen with OCD. Also she shows the side effects of the medicine and how Fin struggles to gain control. I especially liked the mother/daughter relationship and how Fin realizes that maybe she isn't the only one who needs order. I also liked the portrayal of Thayer who has ADD. The reader gets a glimpse into what it must be like to see the world differently from others.

I highly recommend this book. It should be a must-read selection in middle schools and high schools.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book really Sucks you in! Oct. 17 2009
By Cynthia W. Payne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, i read it in one night. Very interesting characters. I met the author when she came to my school and she is fantasic. Really down to earth. She is in fact very much like Fin, her main character. ABSOLUTLY LOVED THE BOOK!~
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OCD Well Handled May 21 2009
By BrenDor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought Total Constant Order because my son and I are learning about developmental disorders as part of our homeschooling curriculum. We're reading it together, and we're finding it to be an interesting book. It's written in first person, which allows the reader to enter into the thinking of the protagonist more. The author has done a good job describing the rather scattered and anxiety driven thinking of Fin, and Thayer is a nice foil to her. I'm pleased with the way the author made the situation realistic without a lot of four-letter words. I would recommend the book to others, especially anyone who is searching for information or help with OCD.
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