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*The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B* by Teresa Toten- young adult book review  
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten
Ages 14+ 304 pages Delacorte March 2015 Hardcover    

The boy inhaled as the door opened. It was as if he knew. The girl stepped into the room, and within the space of a heartbeat, he was lost (p. 1)
\In a heartbeat, Adam Spencer Ross falls in love with Robyn Plummer. They are a very unlikely pair when they meet at a support group for OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Both Adam and Robyn have difficulty coping with social situations. Adam is 15 years old and has many symptoms which make his life difficult. He is obsessed with ordering, counting, and crossing thresholds and has been banned from all electronic devices. As the child of divorce, Adam bounces back and forth between households. His mother is a nurse with complicated emotional problems. She is a hoarder who is receiving anonymous threatening letters. His father has remarried, and Adamís younger stepbrother Sweetie is obsessed with Adam.

Adamís love interest Robyn is sixteen years old. She has just returned from a residential OCD hospital program and lives with her father because her mother has recently died.

The unlikely pair meets in an OCD support group. The leader is the compassionate Chuck, who urges them to open up about their thoughts and feelings. Each of the members of the support group has adopted a superhero nickname. Adam has become Batman, and Robyn has become his sidekick, Robin. As their relationship develops, Adam discovers Robynís secret, and Robyn discovers Adamís obsession with trying to protect the people he loves. Will their love survive?

Teresa Toten has written an absolutely enchanting story about the emotional turmoil which accompanies mental illness. There is humor in this novel, but it is also an honest examination of the challenges which face young adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder. As Adamís life spins out of control, he becomes even more protective of Robyn and his family. He struggles to deal with his motherís hoarding which swallows up his life and agonizes over the dangerous anonymous letters she is receiving. He is conflicted about where he is needed the most Ė at his motherís house, or at his fatherís house where his little stepbrother who worships him struggles to deal with his own emotional problems. He was ďfilled to the brim with worry.Ē (p. 90) How can Adam cope?

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B won the prestigious Canadian Governor Generalís Award for Childrenís Literature in 2013. Toten is the author of the ďblondesĒ series (Me and the Blondes, Better than Blonde, and Beyond Blonde) as well as other YA novels including The Game, The Taming (with Eric Walters) and Shattered Glass. Readers of The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B will come to love and admire Adam, the unlikely hero, who struggles to deal with his mental illness and lifeís challenges as he falls in love for the very first time. This is an unforgettable book!
 
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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