Kat Greene Comes Clean by Melissa Roske
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Eleven-year-old, Kat Greene is growing more and more frustrated with her mother’s constant need to clean. When she tries to talk to her about school or anything else she becomes distracted by germs. Kat isn’t sure she should tell her father what’s happening, how her mother washes her hands until they’re scaly and red as lobsters. He has another wife now, and three-year-old son to take care of, Harry, whom she babysits on occasion with her best friend, Halle. If he finds out, he’ll make Kat move in with them, and she can’t leave her mother alone.
Kat’s mother feels horrible. It’s something she can’t control. Maybe if she wins a spot on the game show, Clean Sweep, she can come clean about her cleaning obsession, and do something useful with it. Kat sure is rooting for her. It’s what they both hope.
While this is happening, Kat’s learns she’s the Boy with the Purple Socks, in the class’s dramatic presentation of Harriet the Spy, The Harriet Project. Not only does she think her character is boring, she has to pair off with Sam, who won’t leave her alone. He wants her to make the Boy with the Purple Socks do something “memorable”. Kat loves Harriet the Spy and relates to Harriet in many ways, but she can’t bring anyone home while her mother’s behavior “is too weird for random guests”.
It’s hard for her to focus on The Harriet Project, or much else while worrying about her mother if she’ll throw out her favorite things, or ruin them with bleach because they’re considered dirty. Olympia, the school psychologist, offers help, and after an online search, Kat learns about the anxiety disorder, OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It scares Kat that her mother has this condition, or that she could get it too!
Written with a lot of heart and humor, Kat Greene Comes Clean, is a vibrant MG voice for readers 9-12.
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