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YA Review: List of Ten by Hallie Gomez

Title: List of Ten

AuthorHallie Gomez

Year Published: 2021

Category: YA fiction
Pages: 360
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map) USA (VA, NY)

Summary (from Amazon): Ten: three little letters, one ordinary number. No big deal, right? But for Troy Hayes, a 16-year-old suffering from Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the number ten dictates his life, forcing him to do everything by its exacting rhythm. Finally, fed up with the daily humiliation, loneliness, and physical pain he endures, Troy writes a list of ten things to do by the tenth anniversary of his diagnosis—culminating in suicide on the actual day. But the process of working his way through the list changes Troy’s life: he becomes friends with Khory, a smart, beautiful classmate who has her own troubled history. Khory unwittingly helps Troy cross off items on his list, moving him ever closer to his grand finale, even as she shows him that life may have more possibilities than he imagined. This is a dark, intense story, but it’s also realistic, hopeful, and deeply authentic.

Review: The last few books I've read have been fairly serious and so I chose a YA book to counter that, which means I have to confess that I didn't read the summary when I chose this one. In honor of Troy's love of and obsession with lists, I will list my thoughts about this book.
  1. This book deals with very serious subjects: OCD and how it can be debilitating, Tourette Syndrome and the pain (physical, emotional, and social) it causes, and self-harm.
  2. The author knows of what she writes. She has similar diagnoses as Troy and that helps his experiences feel very real.
  3. Troy's friends and family are good. They aren't perfect, but they are patient and understanding and are willing to be with Troy while he figures out how to live life to its fullest.
  4. While this book could have been super dark, Gomez managed to give us a sense of hope, showing us a person's ability to be open to change and acknowledgement of that which is difficult and how to go about fixing it. 
  5. This is a really good book overall. I was absorbed from page one and think it will do well with adults and teens alike.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Alphabet (author)--G
  • Diversity--Tourette Syndrome and OCD
  • Literary Escapes--Virginia

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