Friday, July 5, 2013

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B - A Review of the Novel by Teresa Toten

TITLE: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B


RELEASE DATE: August 27, 2013

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: ebook/256 pages

PUBLISHER: Doubleday Canada


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. (From GOODREADS)



It's only the best books that suck the reader in so completely that they begin to experience the feelings of the main character. This book has reached that goal in SPADES! Be careful. This is a story of a teen with OCD...and the OCD group he attends. Toten does a spectacular job of injecting the reader into that group. What a ride! I was there, sitting in a circle looking at all the other OCD sufferers...listening to their facilitator, Chuck, as he attempted to lead the group to a healthier less obsessive compulsive lifestyle. I cannot say enough about the way Toten guided the reader through the real--and real painful--world of the OCD sufferer. Spectacularly crafted!

Though the backdrop of Unlikely Hero was OCD, there was so much more to the story. Toten takes the reader on a ride as the main character, Adam, falls in love while falling apart. I've a feeling this will be my pick for FAVOURITE READ of 2013. I love the way Adam's inner dialogue played out; his fears, his feelings for Robyn (the girl of his dreams), his thoughts on the interactions with his mom, his step-mom, his dad, his brother Sweetie, his therapist..and even Thor, the quiet hulk of a teen who attended the OCD group Adam was part of. Just a great insight into the main character's itchy scratchy obsessive compulsive world. This book is REAL.

Without giving away too much of the story, Unlikely Hero is, IMHO, a story of a boy struggling to keep it together AND the illness he takes on as a result of that struggle. His mother plays a keen role in this struggle. Adam tries desperately to combat the forces of his OCD by attending his therapist's teen OCD support group. But Adam's mother is a hoarder. As he tries to repair his ticks and obsessions, he lives in a home that is getting swallowed up by itself. Throw on the fact that his mother is being stalked, and Adam's stress level is a thousand. Amid the chaos, he is falling in love with fellow support group member Robyn. He complicates this relationship with his axiom, Everybody Lies.

I guarantee you will be on the edge of your seat as all the loose threads in this freight-train of a story begin to come together. Just when you think Adam cannot take another thing thrown into his path, something bigger and more stressful happens. And it all culminates in a satisfying ending that will have you gasping.

When this book releases, pick yourself up a copy. I will be purchasing a copy! It's one of those stories you can read again and again.

Size: 5 1/2 (1/2 for the feeling of OCD symptoms that plagued me for the duration of the story!)

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