Fictional Books about OCD (#OCDWeek 2018)

This is also published on The Mighty: The 4 Best Novels I’ve Read about OCD

coversIt’s no secret that I have OCD. It’s also no secret that I love reading. Therefore, it makes sense that I’ve read a lot of books about OCD, both nonfiction and fiction.

I wanted to highlight four fictional books about OCD that I’ve read and would recommend to others. They all have things I like and dislike, but overall, they get my stamp of approval and do a great job raising awareness.

Here they are, in the order that I read them:

OCD Love Story, by Corey Ann Haydu

“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.” 

five stars

Age: Young Adult (may not be appropriate for younger readers)

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

OCD Love Story follows Bea and Beck, two teenagers learning about their OCD and anxiety. This was the first book I read when I was regaining my ability to read from OCD’s clutches. Therefore, it will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember being amazed at how well what she wrote matched my experiences. I ended up highlighting a lot of the book. Overall, OCD Love Story did a great job exemplifying what OCD is truly like, and it showed many different ways the disorder can present itself. Perhaps the best aspect was that it even included ERP (exposure and response prevention therapy), the recommended treatment for OCD.

Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone

“If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.” 

Golden stars rating template isolated on white background.

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

This book stands apart from the rest because it doesn’t follow a “traditional,” stereotypical case of OCD. Instead, it follows someone with “Pure O.” Samantha struggles with dark thoughts and has no outward rituals. Certainly, we could use more books portraying the lesser known “flavors of OCD.” There is a plot twist at the end I thought was far-fetched, but something I did appreciate in this book was the inclusion of Samantha’s poetry.

Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green

“Your now is not your forever.”

five stars

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery

I enjoyed reading this book immensely. It’s a spectacular portrayal of what it’s like to have OCD, but also just a great story. Aza and Daisy attempt to solve the mystery of a missing person all while Aza battles OCD. John Green is one of my favorite YouTubers, and though I’m not a huge fan of his other books, this one could not be more different. My mom read this book as well, and it gave her a clearer glimpse into my experiences. My main complaint was that OCD was never called OCD in the book. It was left vague. Still, I appreciated the spiral metaphor.

Finding Perfect, by Elly Swartz

Golden stars rating template isolated on white background.

“When I get back to my room, I stand in the middle and stare at my perfectly aligned glass menagerie, my wrinkle-free bed, my neatly folded clothing, and realize that I can’t keep doing this. Things are getting worse. I’m losing control.”

Age: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary, Family

Overall, this was an excellent portrayal of what OCD can be like for a child, in this case Molly as she struggles with family conflict and increasing anxiety. I thought Elly Swartz did a fantastic job describing what OCD can sound and feel like. It was heartbreaking, yet interesting, to watch Molly fall apart and then come back again. My only wish was that more time had been given to ERP therapy and Molly’s recovery process, and that ERP had been called ERP. It felt a little too fast, both in how many pages it was given and in the reality of how long getting a hold on OCD takes. Still, I loved the inclusion of the International OCD Foundation and their website, as Googling and finding them was a huge part of my journey as well. 

Up next to read: The Goldfish Boy, by Lisa Thompson

Age: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery



Other blog posts for OCD Awareness Week:

Day #1: Real OCD

Day #2: Fictional Books about OCD

Day #3: Finding Balance with OCD

Day #4: To the roommate of someone with OCD

Day #5: Peace of Mind Interview

Day #6: (Missed a day. Sorry, not sorry perfectionism)

Day #7: The Worst Type of OCD


  1. My middle grade child liked Finding Perfect but found the ending too tidy. We both really liked Miscalculations of Lightening Girl – while it didn’t tackle OCD head on even though the main character had it, it had a great message about going outside your comfort zone and trying new things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The only one of these I’ve read is “Turtles All the Way Down,” which I really liked (I haven’t read any of John Green’s other books.) I really want to read “Every Last Word” because I have severe pure-O OCD that’s been affecting my life for years and I’ve never read a novel with a character who suffered from that specifically. I’d like to eventually write a manuscript that features a protagonist with pure-O (I’m thinking specifically with sexually-oriented thoughts) but I’m not sure how to go about it, maybe reading more books about OCD would help. Great list! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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