Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: The Unlikly Hero of Room 13B

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Two-time Governor General's Award nominee Teresa Toten is back with a compulsively readable new book for teens!

When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He's determined to protect and defend her--to play Batman to her Robyn--whatever the cost. But when you're fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it's hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a "normal" relationship when your life is so fraught with problems? And that's not even to mention the small matter of those threatening letters Adam's mother has started to receive . . .

Teresa Toten sets some tough and topical issues against the backdrop of a traditional whodunit in this engaging new novel that readers will find hard to put down.
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Doubleday Canada



Kat's Review

I loved this book. I loved the main character, in all his complicated glory. I loved the superheroes of Room 13B. I loved that the author didn't gloss over what OCD can really mean for a teen struggling to get better and fit in. This is a really great story that deals with a debilitating illness in a way that's at times sweet, heartbreaking, and laugh out loud funny.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the title and cover of the book. I actually worry that it may not get the attention it deserves because the title doesn't give much away. It's not a bad title. In fact, I've been trying to come up with a title that would better describe a book about a group of OCD teens in group therapy who take on superhero personas while simultaneously trying to figure out where they fit in, and **shocker** I can't. So I have nothing more to say about that.

This book was written with so much humour and empathy that it was impossible not to fall in love with Adam, our unlikely hero. This boy- this boy who was struggling to deal with so much, who could barely walk through a door without enacting a complicated set of rituals- had so much LOVE to give to everyone around him, it made my heart ache. He wanted to take care of his mother, his little brother, Robyn, the other members of group, when he already had more than he could handle trying to take care of himself.

I don't know exactly what mix of ingredients made me love this book so much. There's nothing radically different in terms of a coming-of-age (in a sense) book, but the humanity of the characters infused every page, and I just couldn't put it down.

I also ended the book in tears, so there's that.

Rating: All Consuming

I'm a sappy, sentimental gal. I loved the sweet nature of the main character, as well as his humour and tenacity. Read this book. If you don't find a special place in your heart for Adam, I don't think we can be friends.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

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