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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Finding Perfect

Finding Perfect

Elly Swartz

Square Fish

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A girl deals with friendship, family, and OCD in this classic-feeling, debut middle-grade novel by Elly Swartz.

To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:

—The number four
—The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
—A crisp white pad of paper
—Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?

But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly's world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect.

Praise for Finding Perfect:

"With middle school friendships and family relationships at its heart, this novel offers an empathetic guide to coping with a mental health issue. . .Swartz adds to the growing list of fiction titles that raise awareness of differences and promote acceptance; a strong purchase for most middle grade and middle school collections." —School Library Journal

"Swartz renders Molly’s decline into full-blown OCD visceral and sympathetic; readers with similar tendencies will relate while… More…

A girl deals with friendship, family, and OCD in this classic-feeling, debut middle-grade novel by Elly Swartz.

To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:

—The number four
—The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
—A crisp white pad of paper
—Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?

But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly's world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect.

Praise for Finding Perfect:

"With middle school friendships and family relationships at its heart, this novel offers an empathetic guide to coping with a mental health issue. . .Swartz adds to the growing list of fiction titles that raise awareness of differences and promote acceptance; a strong purchase for most middle grade and middle school collections." —School Library Journal

"Swartz renders Molly’s decline into full-blown OCD visceral and sympathetic; readers with similar tendencies will relate while others, like her friends, will recognize the pain of seeing someone in need but not being able to help. . .This is one for preteens struggling with the desire for perfection in this imperfect life." —The Bulletin

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blue pixie and the siamese fighting fish


 


MY COWBOY BOOTS SCUFF the wooden floor as I walk onto the stage, and for the next ninety seconds I won’t think of anything but...

Praise for Finding Perfect

“This first-person narrative of an increasingly common behavioral-health issue will undoubtedly be a useful tool for both classroom and group discussion.” —Kirkus Reviews

“First-time author Swartz creates a clear, moving portrayal of obsessive-compulsive disorder through the authentic voice of middle schooler Molly Nathans.” —Publishers Weekly

“With middle school friendships and family relationships at its heart, this novel offers an empathetic guide to coping with a mental health issue.” —School Library Journal

“A powerful but not overpowering novel, informing audiences about OCD with tact and acceptance through an accessible and relateable cast of characters. . .” —The Bulletin

“The exploration of OCD is thorough and compelling, and the book is as well researched (including a list of consulted resources) as it is gently written.” —Booklist

“Elly Swartz’s extensive research into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is evidenced by the authenticity of Molly’s voice and perspective. Readers will share in Molly’s journey from pain to healing in this excellent debut novel.” —School Library Connection

Reviews from Goodreads

Elly Swartz

Elly Swartz grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania, where she lived a happy childhood filled with laughs, family dinners, and crooked birthday cakes. She studied psychology at Boston University and received a law degree from Georgetown University School of Law. The mother of two grown sons, Elly now lives in Massachusetts with her husband. Finding Perfect is her debut novel.

image of Elly Swartzo
Anthony Rugnetta

For Parents and Educators

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Download the Finding Perfect projects for children to do at home and in the classroom

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