Ben is moving to a new town, and starting a new school. But, when the bully is in his head, how can he escape the things it asks him to do even when he has a new chapter of his life to look forward to? Sometimes, it makes him count to 4 to prevent bad things happening, things like his dad being absent; his mum battling her own demons; a moody brother he can’t talk to.
When he meets April and feels as though he has made a new friend, he begins to wonder if he can stand up to the bully and change the direction of his life now that he isn’t alone.
This is an authentic story told by Lily Bailey, who is open about her experience with OCD. An inspiring mental heath activist, she has written a story which will allow children to reflect on his own experience or to begin to develop empathy for others who may be experiencing OCD themselves.
Through the eyes of Ben we can learn more about how OCD can affect daily life and the impact it can have on the relationships with others. Ben was a likeable character and the way he was written allowed the reader to feel as though they were on a journey with him. His development throughout the book was inspiring; he had to challenge himself and overcome obstacles both alone and with the help of others.
Ben’s friendship with April was interesting, as their dynamic changed through their experiences. I found April to be a really likeable character and I thought her personality was one children would be able to relate to. Her story tied into Ben’s in a way that felt authentic; April had her own challenges to deal with but these did not detract from Ben’s story.
This is definitely a book I will love having on my classroom bookshelf and one I think would make a brilliant class reader for Year 5+.
If you like the sound of this book, you can buy it here.
📚Book gifted by publisher.