Title: Worst-Case Collin
Author: Rebecca Caprara
Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction/Books in Verse
Number of Pages: 256
Collin’s mom is dead and his dad’s a hoarder- his home’s being consumed by garbage and he lives in fear of his classmates finding out. As a coping mechanism, Collin becomes a world-class worrier and keeps a notebook of ways to escape different dangerous situations. His best friends Liam and Georgia are kind and supportive, but he has to find the courage to confide in someone about his home life if things are ever going to get better.
I liked how Collin’s mom’s death isn’t the only instigating event for his worry and his dad’s serious psychological issues. They always had mental problems, but her death is what really makes things go from bad to worse. She was the one who kept the family together and took care of Collin when his dad was negligent, and they’re totally lost without her.
Mostly I thought this book was just okay. It was a solid read but I mostly failed to be emotionally moved by it (which is the case of a lot of novels-in-verse) because I couldn’t connect to the characters. I disliked Collin’s dad (even though his mental illness wasn’t his fault) because he did such a bad job taking care of him and the whole issue of the hoarding was dealt with a pretty hasty fashion.
It was the same with the kid who was bullying Collin- he’s an absolute asshole and then all of a sudden at the end they form an uneasy truce. Why? It just seems like it’s what’s necessary to the plot to wrap everything up and present the reader with a happy ending. I thought I would relate more to Collin’s character because I have severe OCD, but my feelings towards him were decidedly neutral. This certainly isn’t a bad book and might be a lot more compelling for younger readers: it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
For a better middle grade book about a pre-teen boy struggling with anxiety, try Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas.
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