Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B (Teresa Toten)

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Title: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Series: standalone
Author: Teresa Toten
Publisher: Delacorte BYR
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Content Rating: Teen (language, sensuality, harassment)
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
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Deep, understated, and wise, this engaging YA novel, winner of the Governor General’s Award in Canada, is about more than the tough issue of teens dealing with obsessive-compulsive order. It also has romance, and a whodunit element that will keep readers guessing. Perfect for readers who love Eleanor & Park!

Adam Spencer Ross is almost fifteen, and he’s got his hands full confronting the problems that come with having divorced parents and new stepsiblings. Add to that his obsessive-compulsive disorder and it’s just about impossible for him to imagine ever falling in love. Adam’s life changes, however, the instant he meets Robyn Plummer: he is hopelessly, desperately drawn to her. But is it possible to have a normal relationship when your life is anything but?

Filled with moments of deep emotion and unexpected humor, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B explores the complexities of living with OCD and offers the prospect of hope, happiness, and healing.

*          *          *

In a SentenceA funny but bittersweet contemporary that made me laugh, made me cry, and broke my heart a little, but it was worth the hurt and worth the read. 

I'm rarely one for contemporary, but I just couldn't resist this book's fun, colorful cover and unique title. I really had no idea what to expect going in though, and was pleasantly surprised not only by how much the story engaged me but how much I got out of it.

The plot is a simple one, a sort of slice of life story about a 14 year-old boy with OCD who falls in love with a 16 year-old girl from his OCD superhero support Group while dealing with some seriously crazy family issues. The romance was instant but really sweet, and Adam's immediate obsession with Robyn fit his OCD for me so I immediately accepted it. The crazy family issues added a dark mystery element to the otherwise surprisingly lighter story that, while it kept me guessing, did bring down the mood a bit. But it was a necessary evil, and luckily the superhero support Group were there to raise the mood with their antics and adventures. Also, despite his own problems, Adam's little stepbrother Sweetie brightened every one of his thankfully many scenes. The end was bittersweet but moving (of course I cried) - I don't consider it a "happy" ending, but it was definitely hopeful.

The thing I liked most was learning about OCD from the perspective of someone with the disorder. I've always known about OCD, but apparently not what it really involves, or how broad a term it is. This book offers an opportunity to learn about the disorder's many facets in an environment of humor and transition and discovery, and I now understand it better than any instructional article or book could've ever tried to teach me.

Conclusion: While a little heartbreaking, this was essentially a heartwarming story that I am so glad I read. I learned a lot about a lot - life, love, family, OCD - and highly recommend this sweet and simple story to absolutely everyone. Even (and maybe especially) those who aren't contemporary readers, like me - expand your world a little! I certainly didn't regret it.

Scribble Rating
4 out of 5 Scribbles

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