It’s my stop with MTMC Tours to talk about ONE CAREFREE DAY by Whitney Amazeen!
I have a huge passion for books with mental health rep, so diving into this #ownvoices story about a Black teen with OCD was everything I wanted. It’s such a raw story, with the anxiety so palpable on page that I felt so much for what Willow goes through everyday. Stories like these are so powerful and important. I’m so glad this one exists.
Willow Bates has a lot going on. She’s starting cosmetology school, a new boy has moved into her guest house (son of her mum’s friend), and her OCD is at an all time high. Every second she’s awake, she has rituals to go through and anxiety swirling in her gut. My heart breaks for her 😭 and a lot of the anxieties she faced were so relatable to me. She gets very little support from her mum. Their relationship is messy and I felt Willow’s loneliness as she faced her illness. The nuance and the care in the explanations of OCD were so so well written.
She has a super high fear of any sort of medication (she won’t even take painkillers) so that rules out meds, and she hasn’t had access to a helpful therapist. So when the new boy, Theo, offers to help her with some cognitive behavioural therapy, Willow agrees.
Now like I fully 💀 don’t think teens should do CBT by themselves without a therapist’s guidance, but it’s actually really important to acknowledge (a) finding a good and affordable therapist is NOT simple for everyone, and (b) being mentally ill is full desperate decisions sometimes. So 🥺 I ached for Willow and she is brave for trying.
I also loved that the book talked about how you can’t just “get rid” of OCD. There is no “boy cures the girl with love” dialogue in this story. There is just a journey of healing and pain, and also joy.
Also can we talk about the characters?! Star of my LIFE is also Willow’s cousin, Ash!! She is just so spiky and unapologetic, and she supports Willow so much. But Willow also supports her. They were just 😭💛 a gorgeous friendship. Theo is the hot British boy who has ptsd from a terrible childhood, but is also keen to explore his creativity for himself now that he’s free. He paints! He is in cosmetology school too! He never pushes Willow cruelly as they work on her OCD, which I was super relieved about. But he does challenge her.
“You need to be happy, Willow,” she says. “But you also need to be sad. You need to feel loss. Anger. Hurt. Pain. Fear, even. All of those emotions are important because they let you grow and get stronger. There are so many more valid, relevant, important emotions than happiness.”
This is the story of a girl who wants to be at peace with her illness, to allow herself to love, and to find her footing in a world that has served her so much pain.
I hope you get a chance to pick this one up! And do enter the INTL Giveaway on my instagram.
For eighteen-year-old Willow Bates, anxiety is just a part of life. With her every decision ruled by intrusive thoughts, she’s worried she sometimes seems a little odd. Despite Willow’s efforts to hide her OCD from those around her, it isn’t always possible. Her rituals are her coping mechanism, and Willow’s past has left her with a lot to cope with.
But when Willow takes things too far, her mother breaks and gives her an ultimatum: Willow must finally start taking meds to treat her obsessive-compulsive disorder, or she’ll have to move out within three months. But Willow is terrified of both options, and can’t afford to support herself as a new cosmetology student.
Only when Theo Tate moves in next door does Willow begin to see hope. Theo might have a way for Willow to avoid taking meds and still resist her rituals. But falling for Theo is definitely not part of the plan. And mingling with him has risks not even Willow could possibly control, let alone be prepared for.
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Whitney Amazeen’s love for reading started in third grade and has been going strong ever since. As a result, Whitney has evolved into a full-fledged daydreamer with more stories in her head than she can count. When she’s not immersed in a novel, Whitney spends the majority of her time writing down stories about characters in her head who demand to be heard. Whitney lives in California with her husband and son, and can often be found drinking tea, hoping for foggy weather, and obsessing over fictional characters.
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