Monday, July 22, 2019

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B



The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Author: Teresa Toten
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Published: August 27, 2013
Pages: 272 
My Rating: 



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.
A young boy, who struggles with OCD, meets a girl in group therapy and falls in love.
Going into this book I had no idea what to expect. I wanted to find a decently represented mental health novel so I thought I would give this book a try. Thank god, I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up loving this story! The characters were brilliant. This was a love story that ended up making me smile almost the whole time.

As someone who is personally diagnosed with OCD, I felt very well represented in this novel. The therapy process was depicted accurately. All different types and symptoms of the illness are shown. More people need to know about this book. This book showed and dealt with real issues of obsessive-compulsive disorder beautifully. 

Adam, the main character is introduced while in group therapy. Almost instantly he falls for a girl in his recovery group named Robyn. Their romance was very fun to read. The innocence of young love is shown but also all the struggles of mental illness. My favorite character by far was Adam's little brother Sweetie. He made me smile the entire novel. There were times when I wanted to hug and squeeze him because I loved him so much. Family, friendships, and their importance for people struggling with OCD are shown. A good support system is needed in any illness.

Not only does this book delve into mental illness with OCD but Adam's mother is a hoarder. Adam is very much affected by his mother's illness. The novel shows how hoarding situations affect loved ones surrounding the person who is sick. This was an interesting dynamic to see as Adam is OCD and having to deal with his mother's messy lifestyle. How everything played out was very interesting. You really begin to care for these characters. They felt so real to me. 

This book is entertaining but it can also be emotionally exhausting to read. I recommend that you are in the right headspace before picking up this novel. While at times it's lighthearted it definitely deals with very hard topics. I loved how the author showed that it's okay to ask for help when struggling. It was a very powerful book. It's very easy to feel Adam's pain while reading. 

The plot is well developed and flowed perfectly. There was just enough humor in the book to balance out all the mental illness and the difficulties that come with it. The only reason this book did not get five stars from me is that in the end, I felt like I wanted more to the story. It ended kind of abruptly. We only had a very short glimpse into Adam's family and I wanted to know more. His mother was very intriguing to me and I would have liked to have known more about her. There wasn't as much of an outcome in the end. If you like mental illness contemporary books, I highly urge you to pick this one up. You will not regret it!

Teresa Toten, My earliest and most fervent ambition was to grow up and take my rightful place among the other mermaids. When cruel and insensitive adults crushed that dream by insisting that mermaids did not exist, I settled on the more mature aspiration of becoming an intergalactic astronaut. Then I realized that math would likely be involved. So, in the end, I went to Trinity College at the University of Toronto where I got a BA and then an MA in Political Economy taking great care not to take a single English or Creative Writing class. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was never ever going to be a writer. That would be silly, fanciful and well, unrealistic. And then I started to write...

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