Ayarbe exercises both enormous skill and restraint getting to the root of just how debilitating OCD can become, juxtaposing descriptions of the ways the mind’s compulsions can trip a trap of mental and physical anguish against a complex, credibly casted portrayal of teen social dynamics. A gripping, claustrophobic read. – Booklist (starred review)
A compelling entrée into the claustrophobic world of an OCD teen. Taut, suspenseful and well-realized – Kirkus Reviews
Today has to be perfect.
I look at the clock.
Ten fourteen. One plus one is two plus four is six plus ten is sixteen minus one is fifteen minus two is thirteen. OK.
I turn from the clock and walk into the hallway. “Ready.”
Saturday will be the third state soccer championship in a row for Jake Martin. Three. A good number. Prime. With Jake on the field, Carson City High can’t lose because Jake has the magic: a self-created protection generated by his obsession with prime numbers. It’s the magic that has every top soccer university recruiting Jake, the magic that keeps his family safe, and the magic that suppresses his anxiety attacks. But the magic is Jake’s prison, because sustaining it means his compulsions take over nearly every aspect of his life.
Jake’s convinced the magic will be permanent after Saturday, the perfect day, when every prime has converged. Once the game is over, he won’t have to rely on his sister to concoct excuses for his odd rituals. His dad will stop treating him like he is some freak. Maybe he’ll even make a friend other than Luc.
But what if the magic doesn’t stay?
What if the numbers never leave?