Review of Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis

"My Name is Zelah Green and I'm a cleanaholic. I spend most of my life running away from germs. And dirt. And people. And I'm just about doing okay and then my stepmother packs me off to some kind of hospital to live with a bunch of strangers. It's stuck in the middle of nowhere. Great. There's Alice who's anorexic. Caro who cuts herself. Silent Sol who has the cutest smile. And then there's me."

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Zelah Green is a wonderfully quick read which I devoured in about an hour. It was great to delve into such a simple story, without loads of characters, complicated plot line and boys with rippling muscles! Okay, so it's not the most realistic but that's the beauty of it - simplicity. Who doesn't enjoy a piece of pure fluff every now and again?

The issues dealt with are OCD, cutting, anorexia and probably a couple of others that I don't remember. These are all mentioned in a very light way and the characters with these illnesses don't have too much character development, yet I still loved them all, particularly Caro, the cutter. Caro is almost the opposite of Zelah - she's loud, outspoken and rude and prone to sudden unexpected outbursts, smashing tables or screaming and breaking things (admittedly, I can relate to this, although maybe not as extreme!). In contrast, Zelah is quite, polite-spoken and keeps her room tidy. In fact she keeps everything tidy as she has OCD. She has rituals she has to do every morning, including hand washing and stair jumping (often to avoid anything seriously bad happening) but her almost fairytale-like wicked stepmother is having none of this after Zelah's father disappears. She packs Zelah off to the local hospital but Zelah's next door neighbour takes pity on her and takes her to Forest Hill House instead, where her new life begins.

The ending was very fluffy but I enjoyed it immensely and found myself rooting for Zelah all the way through. I can't wait to start the next book and I dearly hope that we'll see all my favourite characters again - Caro, Alice and Sol. I hope they've all mostly worked through their problems and the sequel shows them coping with the outside world once more.


5/5

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