Former Branham student releases successful debut novel

Whitney Amazeen based the story off of her own experiences with OCD.

Nolan Zils, Managing Editor

Former Branham student Whitney Amazeen  still can’t believe how impactful her book was to people who have the mental illness represented in the story.

“I knew obsessive-compulsive disorder was something many people could relate to, but it’s still an amazing feeling to hear from readers that my book was relatable or impactful to them,” she said. 

On February 7, she published her debut novel, a Young Adult book called “One Carefree Day”. The story focuses on an 18-year-old mixed-race teenager named Willow Bates that has severe OCD fueled by her traumatic past. Her compulsions become so extreme that her mother gives the ultimatum of treating them within three months, or find a new place to live. Willow starts to see hope when Theo Tate, a boy her age who knows of an alternative treatment, moves in next door. 

Amazeen said the protagonist is loosely based on herself. Just like her character, she went to cosmetology school after high-school, has OCD, and is mixed-raced. She got the idea for the novel after watching a show that focused on the disorder. She remembers being surprised that others were experiencing the same struggles that she had.

“While in high school, I struggled with my OCD and hiding my rituals because I didn’t know what was going on with me at the time,” she said. “I had no idea I even had OCD until the summer after my senior year.” 

On her list of acknowledgements on the back of Amazeen’s book, one paragraph was dedicated to teachers she had in the past, and one of them was Branham English teacher Tobie Schweizer. Schweizer said that she feels honored to have played a significant part in   a past student’s life.

“It makes me feel authentically proud that I had just a little part of that journey she’s on right now.” said Schweizer. 

Schweizer read “One Carefree Day” for herself, and was not only impressed with the amount of work that went into the story, but also by how much she enjoyed the novel. 

“I loved it,” she said. “It’s a mix between a love story and about the disease of OCD, which is great because there’s a lot of things in there that I didn’t know about that condition. So it’s taught me a lot.”

Schweizer is not the only one who enjoyed the book, as it has become a successful novel, and has glowing reviews on book review sites. On the book database site Goodreads the book has a 4.2/5 rating after 52 reviews. On, the novel has a 5/5 rating. Amazeen was surprised by the attention the book got, but is also glad that it is making people more aware about the struggles of OCD. 

“I’m still startled when people tell me how much they loved One Carefree Day, or that it meant a lot to them because it was relatable,” she said. “That makes me happier than I ever could have prepared myself for.”

Amazeen, who married her high school sweetheart Michael and had her second child a few months ago, says that she plans to continue writing. 

“I couldn’t stop if I tried,” she said. “There are a million stories floating around in my head. Some of them are deep and meaningful, and others are fluffy and romantic. I’m not sure which will be published next, but I can say that there will be many stories from me in the future. We’ll see what happens!”