By: Lily Bailey
Genre: YFN - Family & home stories
Published by: Hachette Children's Books
Published: 14 Jun 2022
ISBN: 9781510109803


New town, new school, but the bully is in Ben's head... There are 4 things you should know about Ben: 1. He's 12 years old 2. He's the new kid at school 3. His special number is 4 4. He has a bully in his brain

Sometimes Ben's brain makes him count to 4 to prevent bad things happening. Sometimes it makes him tap or blink in 4s. Mostly it makes the smallest things feel impossible. And with a new school, a moody big brother, an absent dad and a mum battling her own demons, Ben feels more out of control than ever. But then he meets April, and with his new friend, Ben might finally figure out how to stand up to the bully in his brain, once and for all. An authentic and affecting #ownvoices story about living life with OCD, from the inspiring author and mental health activist, Lily Bailey. Perfect for readers of A Kind of Spark and The Goldfish Boy.

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Ben is 12 years old and he has just moved house and school to try to have a fresh start.

Living with an alcoholic mother and a workaholic father, life is difficult.

But the bully in his brain makes it even worse. Ben suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and it has a huge impact on his everyday life.

When Ben is befriended by the new girl, April, we witness Ben starting to change, and he improves so much more when he begins counselling.

Ben may never be like everyone else, but can he slowly take control of the thoughts that make him act out?

I loved Ben and April, and found this to be an insightful story about the impact of OCD on a young person’s life, as well as the measures that he takes to try to tackle these challenges.

It has themes of family struggles, the importance of friendship, the treatment of those who are different, and most importantly dealing with mental illness, that make this a wonderful book that is suitable for readers aged 10 - 16.

Reviewed by Rob