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Total Constant Order Paperback – Oct 11 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen (Oct. 11 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060886056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060886059
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 14 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,628,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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By Heather Pearson TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 19 2008
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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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: 6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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
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
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
not just for teens Nov. 19 2008
By D. K. Stokes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, though I knew I was intrigued. The back cover blurb calls it "a haunting exploration of one teen's experience with OCD and Paxil," which kind of makes it sound like an informercial.

I think that's selling a wonderful story very short.

Fin is a high school student. Her parents are divorced, and she and her mother have moved to a new town in a new state. But her outside world isn't all that's out of control. Her mind is, too. She finds herself obsessed with numbers, with counting, with doing things in a precise pattern, and she feels helpless to stop.

Then she meets Thayer, who's even weirder than she is, and the unlikely pair begin a friendship that helps both of them.

Yes, Fin has OCD, and yes, she ends up taking Paxil and we see the effects it has on her, but Total Constant Order is about so much more than that. It's about growing up, about being a teenager--and let's face it, teenagers with or without OCD feel that their lives are beyond their control. It's about facing the problems of life with a friend, about learning when to ask for help, and about discovering that parents are fallible people, too.

In other words, it's a coming-of-age story, not unlike a fairy tale. Only Fin's battling OCD instead of a dragon.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and couldn't put it down. The descriptions of what was going on in Fin's head were so vivid and clear that the lines between "normal" and "crazy," never very distinct to begin with, were blurred, reminding me of the hero's POV from Tod Goldberg's Living Dead Girl. I felt with her the frustration as she tried to get help, and fell a little in love with Thayer along with her.

And at the same time, Fin's mom in particular made me think about parenting and trying to do our best with imperfect knowledge and difficult situations, while being imperfect ourselves.

All in all, a wonderful, relatable story that applies to everyone who is or has been a teenager.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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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