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Book Review: Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappell

The best in children’s literature, selected by Jim Whiting.

Crissa-Jean Chappell

Crissa-Jean Chappell holds an MFA in screenwriting and an interdisciplinary PhD in film theory, philosophy, and literature. She teaches creative writing and cinema studies at Miami International University of Art and Design. For eight years, she wrote a weekly film column for the Miami Sun Post. Her reviews of art and culture have appeared in magazines such as Film Comment, Tate (London), New Times, Urb, Script, and others. Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Confrontation and the Southwest Review. Her debut YA novel, Total Constant Order, was recently published by HarperCollins. It is a Florida Book Award medalist and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age.

Fin can’t stop counting. She’s always heard a voice inside her head, ordering her to listen, but ever since she’s moved to the Sunshine State and her parents split up, numbers thump like a metronome, rhythmically keeping things in control. When a new doctor introduces terms like clinical depression and OCD, and offers a prescription for medication, the chemical effects make Fin feel even more messed up. Until she meets a doodling, rule-bending skater who buzzes to his own beat–and who might just understand Fin’s hunger to belong, and her struggle for total constant order.

Total Constant Order

Katherine Tegen Books

An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Age 14-up

My book isn’t about “fixing” a girl who suffers from OCD. It’s about channeling that nervous energy into something productive (in this case, art). Check out this interview from the Miami Herald:


“Likable characters and an intense pace.”

-School Library Journal

“Plenty of kids, OCD or not, will…find the exploration of disorder and identity thought-provoking.”

-Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Readers…will recognize the anger, the anxiety, and the longing for escape.”

-ALA Booklist

“This must-have story is fresh. Chappell’s first novel is a breakthrough.”

-Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

(Starred Review: and Editor’s Choice Book

For more about Crissa-Jean Chappell, including a book trailer for
Total Constant Order, please see https://www.crissajeanchappell.com.

For more information about Jim, please see www.jimwhiting.com. To inquire about availability of specific titles or to send a comment, write him at jimruns3@gmail.com.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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