Review/Interview: Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo

Welcome to Letters Inside Out’s stop on the Lexapros and Cons tour! I have a lot of goodies for you all, including a review, an interview with the author, and a giveaway!

Chuck Taylor’s OCD has rendered him a high school outcast. His endless routines and habitual hand washing threaten to scare away both his closest friend and the amazing new girl in town. Sure he happens to share the name of the icon behind the coolest sneakers in the world, but even Chuck knows his bizarre system of wearing different color “Cons” depending on his mood is completely crazy.

In this hilariously candid debut novel from comedian Aaron Karo—who grew up with a few obsessions and compulsions of his own—very bad things are going to happen to Chuck. But maybe that’s a good thing. Because with graduation looming, Chuck finds himself with one last chance to face his inner demons, defend his best friend, and win over the girl of his dreams. No matter what happens, though, he’ll have to get his hands dirty.

When I originally saw the cover of Lexapros and Cons I knew I had to read it. It’s bright, flashy, and looks like so much fun! Karo’s YA debut lived up to my expectations! From the first page I was in this fun stupor wondering if I should laugh or not.

Chuck has an amazing personality. On top of his OCD, he just has so much spunk! He collects “cons” in various colors, because his name is Chuck Taylor – like the shoe! He’s a bit obsessed with snagging the new girl in town by any means necessary. He has a slightly geeky best friend, who has so much heart (who loves repeating the story of his first sexual encounter).

Some of Chuck’s compulsions are a bit giggle-worthy, some are full out worthy of laughing. Other moments are a bit sad, but still done in a comedic way! Through out Lexapros and Cons Chuck is struggling with his decision to get better.

Warning time: If you haven’t gathered from the review, there are sexual situations. It’s done in a comedic way, but if that isn’t your thing – this isn’t your book!

Everyone else, Lexapros and Cons is worth being on your radar! It’s hilarious, witty, and such a fun read.

I received my copy of Lexapros and Cons from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Find out more: Amazon | Book Website | Twitter

Author Interview



LIO: Describe Lexapros and Cons in 10 words or less.

AK: A teenager with OCD is obsessed with Converse!

LIO: Can you tell us a little bit about how you come up with idea of the storyline?

AK: I actually came up with the title first. (For those who don’t know, Lexapros is an antidepressant sometimes given to people with OCD.) I honestly had just written down “Lexapros and Cons” and nothing else. I just thought it seemed like a clever title. And then, because of my experience with OCD (see next question), I started to brainstorm the story of a teen with OCD. And that point, the “Cons” in the title just meant “negatives” as in “pros and cons.” It wasn’t until halfway through brainstorming the story that I realized that Cons could also be Cons as in Converse. And then I thought it’d be interesting if one of the things the main character was OCD about was Converse. And then I just needed a reason why he would be obsessed with that particular brand. And then the lightbulb hit – his name should be Chuck Taylor!

LIO: How did you research OCD – personal experience or strictly research?

AK:Well, Chuck Taylor is basically me. All of the OCD symptoms in the book I have suffered from at some point. I actually counted how often I masturbated for an entire year (luckily that was in ninth grade and I don’t do it anymore!). All of the stove checking and the obsession with hand sanitizer – those are all things I do now. So writing about OCD was very personal and really required introspection rather than research.LIO: Some of his “cons” were colors not usually associated with that emotion. How did you come up with the color scheme?

AK: Totally random! I made a list of all the available Converse colors, and then anytime Chuck was in a certain mood, I’d pick one at random and assign it. Only one color matches the feeling – black means depressed. I just thought that was such a powerful emotion and it deserved an equally powerful color.

LIO: And, lastly, what is your writing process like?

AK: I’m a big outliner. I outlined the entire story in Excel first, one sentence for each of the 60 chapters. When I’m actually writing, I need total silence and large blocks of time. Like I can’t sit down for 20 minutes and bang out a paragraph, I need like 6-8 hour stretches where I really get immersed. I can’t have any music playing for anyone around. I am very easily distracted. Once I get in a groove though, I can write FAST. Not counting outlining, I wrote Lexapros in a month (and then spent a year editing it). I just cranked it out. Generally speaking though, I can only crank if I really feel inspired. Chuck was a very inspiring character to write though. It flowed.

Letters Inside Out giveaway

Want a chance to read Lexapros and Cons? One lucky US reader can win a copy of the book!

Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win!

Please check my giveaway policy for all rules, if you have any questions feel free to email me!

The giveaway ends on April 23rd at 11:59pm EST.

The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email, after which time an alternate winner will be chosen. Their contact information will be forwarded on to the publisher, who is providing the prize.

Want to check out the rest of the tour?:

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  1. What a cool idea! Truth to be told, I was in my Teen years in love with Chucks, then for years I didn’t wear them and now… I’m back with my Chuck obsession even though I’m in my 30s, but I love them so much!

    This book sounds absolutely fun and packed with an intense and tough subject like OCD! Lovely Interview, thank you so much for sharing!

  2. This sounds sweet, a contemporary novel with a flawed male (!) protagonist. I’ll have to add this to my tbr list.

  3. Christina Kit. says:

    Thanks so much for this great review – I LOVE the storyline and the characters sound incredible!

    The interview was great – it’s high time someone shines a light on OCD in a real sense, other than as jokes.

    Thanks for the giveaway, I’d love to read it:)

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  4. Victoria Zumbrum says:

    I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Please enter me in contest.

  5. Sayomay says:

    Awesomeness! This sounds like a really fun read!

  6. This is a must read for me! My son suffers from acute anxiety and has a few OCD tics, as he calls them. I believe that we would both enjoy this book. It would be nice to laugh about life instead of worry! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  7. This sounds like a great book. I love converse and then combining them with a boy with OCD sounds like such an interesting concept. Thanks for the very personal interview as well. It makes me even more interested in the book.

  8. Natasha says:

    Sounds like a very good book! Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  9. alicia marie says:

    i’ve been wanting to read this book. the title alone was enough to draw me in, but everything else about it sounds good as well : )

  10. Mary DeBorde [M.A.D.] says:

    OCD is a subject near and dear to my heart – I’ve suffered with this
    since I was 18, and while antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds have helped, there are times when coping can be difficult. Unfortunately, this condition runs in my family.

    Wonderful interview and thank you for the sweet giveaway!!

    • Amanda says:

      I have a bit of a morbid fascination with different disorders. I have one myself, not OCD! So I totally get you! It’s great sometimes there are books that introduce the subject but also make it fun/light.

      Good luck in the giveaway!

  11. Carrie A says:

    Some of my favorite books have been from a male’s POV..this one looks great too :)

    celjla212 at aol dot com

  12. Roxanne says:

    I love these kind of books. I hope I win, good luck to me =) Thanks or the giveaway.

  13. This book sounds great. I love funny books that have a story line! Keeping my fingers crossed!

  14. Suz Reads says:

    Thanks for this giveaway! This book sounds great and I woud love to win it!

  15. Helen says:

    sounds like a great book thanks for the chance to read it

  16. Jenny V says:

    I love the idea of combining Chucks and OCD. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the post & giveaway!

  17. I’ve been wanting to check this out since you teased it! I like how the idea came about, it sounds really original.

  18. Kenia says:

    Great giveaway! I’ve been reading a lot about this book. I really want to read it. Thanks for the chance :)

  19. bn100 says:

    Very nice review. This sounds like a fun read.

  20. Wow-that was really interesting to read about! I was not aware that Karo was writing such a personal novel but that adds even more depth to the novel.

    • Amanda says:

      It really is fascinating! I had no clue going in, so when I got the interview questions back I was really surprised. It definitely added more to the book.


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