Finding Perfect (Hardcover)
To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:
—The number four
—The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
—A crisp white pad of paper
—Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines
What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?
But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly's world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect.
About the Author
Elly Swartz grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania, where she lived a happy childhood filled with laughs, family dinners, and crooked birthday cakes. She studied psychology at Boston University and received a law degree from Georgetown University School of Law. The mother of two grown sons, Elly now lives in Massachusetts with her husband. Finding Perfect was her debut novel.
*A 2019-2020 Iowa Children's Choice Book!*
*A Kentucky Blue Grass Master List Pick!*
*A Child Mind's Institute Best Children's Book About Mental Health!*
"While there are several good books about OCD for teen readers, few are available for middle graders, and this is a welcome addition to the fold."—Kirkus
"First-time author Swartz creates a clear, moving portrayal of obsessive-compulsive disorder through the authentic voice of middle schooler Molly Nathans."—Publishers Weekly
"With middle school friendships and family relationships at its heart, this novel offers an empathetic guide to coping with a mental health issue...Swartz adds to the growing list of fiction titles that raise awareness of differences and promote acceptance; a strong purchase for most middle grade and middle school collections."—School Library Journal
"With intense and insightful depictions of Molly’s thoughts and subsequent actions, Swartz renders Molly’s decline into full-blown OCD visceral and sympathetic; readers with similar tendencies will relate while others, like her friends, will recognize the pain of seeing someone in need but not being able to help. This is a powerful but not overpowering novel, informing audiences about OCD with tact and acceptance through an accessible and relateable cast of characters, from Molly’s distracted but well-meaning father to her angry older sister to her supportive but helpless-feeling friends. It’s a difficult but manageable journey for readers to take, and many may find themselves using Swartz’s list of consulted resources for further information. This is one for preteens struggling with the desire for perfection in this imperfect life."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This lightly and sensitively written debut is a candid portrayal of what it might be like for a child living with obsessive-compulsive disorder...the exploration of OCD is thorough and compelling, and the book is as well researched (including a list of consulted resources) as it is gently written."—Booklist
"Elly Swartz’s extensive research into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is evidenced by the authenticity of Molly’s voice and perspective. Readers will share in Molly’s journey from pain to healing in this excellent debut novel."—School Library Connection