List of Ten

Sterling. Mar. 2021. 368p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781454940142.
Gr 9 Up–What most people see when they look at 16-year-old Troy Haynes are his tics, his clutching hands, his behavior that causes him to align objects, touch the floor, and shout out words that don’t belong. Troy has Tourette syndrome (TS) and obsessive-compulsive disorder and he is weary, sad, and ready to die. Because the number 10 is important to him, he decides to die on the 10-year anniversary of his diagnosis. He makes a list of nine things he’s always wanted do with the goal of completing them by the expected date (suicide is the 10th thing). Then Troy meets Khory, the surviving twin of a kidnapping, who has her own demons to contend with and she pays little attention to Troy’s tics. When she introduces Troy to her friends, he finds acceptance for the first time. While helping Khory with her own list toward becoming more independent, Troy discovers that his 10th goal feels far too final. Told in the first person, this powerful novel takes readers into the emotional and physical depths of TS, feeling every pain and twitch. Making the choice to live will take a herculean effort, and only with the support of his family and the love of his friends can Troy move even slightly toward that choice. Most characters’ ethnicity isn’t stated, and one of Khory’s friends is Black.
VERDICT This #OwnVoices novel gives insight into living with these conditions, and readers will ponder how friendship means more than being “perfect.”

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