Review: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

Slow but steady eye-opening & thought-provoking read about OCD. 

Unlikely Hero review

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B summary

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…

My thoughts

I’ve never read a book that centres so closely around OCD before, and that made this a fascinating, eye-opening and thought-provoking read that is completely heart-breaking at times. If you suffer from OCD I would highly, highly recommend reading it.

However, I do think that more needed to be made of storyline to help hook readers in. Books are often compared with rollercoaster rides, with unexpected twists and turns that’ll keep you wanting more, but if this was a rollercoaster it would go like this:

Room 13b

Fortunately, it was slow but steady. There’s something strange about this book that meant I still enjoyed it, despite reading it painstakingly slowly. Towards the middle I managed to read a little quicker, but there’s a lot to wrap your head around. OCD is very complicated, to say the least, and there are many different characters with different OCD tendencies to get to grips with.

That said, the ending surprised me and I really liked it, hence the sudden incline one the rollercoaster. Plus, the characters in this book are intriguing to say the least. I found Adam’s mum utterly fascinating and she was one of my favourite parts of this novel, as well as his young brother Sweetie and their incredible bond.

Adam is funny and believable, and the writing style Teresa Toten has adopted is fresh and honest, and I imagine that fans of John Green will enjoy it.

I’m sad that I can’t say I absolutely loved this book because I’d like to see more books about OCD making their way into the YA world (and I know that Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here is one, so that’s great!). But I know that many people do love it, and that this book could help raise awareness of the disorder and get more people talking about it, which is always a good thing.

My rating:

3.5/5 stars

If you liked The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B you might also like:

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Juvie by Steve Watkins

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Book Haul starring The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

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