I have wanted to return to Callie’s world ever since I reviewed Checked. She was in rough shape last time I saw her, and I hoped she would be on her way to recovery in this sequel. As is usually the case, however, things must get worse before they get better.
Her physical maladies improve, but Callie’s OCD worsens following acute illness and staggering heartbreak. The author’s vivid depiction of this disorder is eye opening in Book 1. Intrusive thoughts (often in the form of song lyrics) cause severe anxiety and trigger repetitive behaviors like cleaning, showering, counting and checking. Callie’s condition worsens as she returns to the life she had before the hospital stay and break up.
I have a new appreciation for this disorder and its varied symptoms. After several chapters in her head, I grasped how obsessing about unwanted thoughts is all consuming and exhausting, and how “leaving the house checks” bring a pretense of control, order and peace. The calmness is short lived, however because Callie understands this behavior is irrational, which results in stress.
Living day-to-day gets much more difficult when she is forced to attend a conference in another state, meaning air travel, hotel stays, large crowds… her worst nightmare. Callie’s family do all they can to help her, but only Aiden understands and anticipates the scope of support needed to pull off this trip. I enjoyed how the communication between Callie and Aiden graduated from radio silence to meeting in person. Like hiking up a steep grade, the journey was slow, difficult, and frustrating – but worth the effort because of the breathtaking scenes.
I applaud the author for simultaneously educating her audience and entertaining her readers. This is not a series just about living with OCD; it is about Callie and Aiden. Good love stories have surprising obstacles – and this couple must overcome more than most. I am rooting for them, just as I was at the end of Book 1.
Checked Again is Book 2 in the Checked Series by Jennifer Jamelli