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The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
     

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

4.5 2
by Teresa Toten
 

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Filled with moments of deep emotion and unexpected humor, this understated and wise novel explores the complexities of living with OCD and offers the prospect of hope, happiness and healing. Perfect for readers who love Eleanor & Park and All the Bright Places.
 
ADAM’S GOALS:
Grow immediately.
Find courage.

Overview

Filled with moments of deep emotion and unexpected humor, this understated and wise novel explores the complexities of living with OCD and offers the prospect of hope, happiness and healing. Perfect for readers who love Eleanor & Park and All the Bright Places.
 
ADAM’S GOALS:
Grow immediately.
Find courage.
Keep courage.
Get normal.
Marry Robyn Plummer.
 
The instant Adam Spencer Ross meets Robyn Plummer in his Young Adult OCD Support Group, he is hopelessly, desperately drawn to her. Robyn has an hypnotic voice, blue eyes the shade of an angry sky, and ravishing beauty that makes Adam’s insides ache. She’s also just been released from a residential psychiatric program—the kind for the worst, most difficult-to-cure cases; the kind that Adam and his fellow support group members will do anything to avoid joining.

Adam immediately knows that he has to save Robyn, must save Robyn, or die trying. But is it really Robyn who needs rescuing? And is it possible to have a normal relationship when your life is anything but?
 
Select praise for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B:

“. . . achingly authentic. Like Augustus Waters before him, Adam Spencer Ross will renew your faith in real-life superheroes and shatter your heart in equal measures.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“This book made me laugh, cry, think, and kept me coming back for more.” —The Guardian
 
“Adam is a protagonist that readers will root for.” —VOYA
 
“Honest, fresh, and funny . . . Toten employs information about OCD like grace notes in this deft and compelling narrative.” —Booklist
 
“Adam is a fresh and complex character, and far more than the sum of his symptoms.” —Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/02/2015
When 14-year-old Adam Spencer Ross falls for a girl named Robyn Plummer, who attends his OCD support group, it provides him with an instant inspiration to try to become "normal.” Despite medicine and therapy, Adam struggles with compulsive rituals and anxieties, particularly concerning his mother, who is acting increasingly strange herself. Adam's internal monologues, which include interwoven lists of his beliefs and worries, are intense and realistic ("I believe that I am unclean and will harm those I care about the most and that there is too much noise in my head and that I am so goddamned tired”). While the book offers an unflinching look at mental illness, Toten's (The Onlyhouse) characters are also able to see humor in their darkest moments. Adam's path to accepting ownership over his health is filled with pain and false starts that are highly personal; as a result, Adam is a fresh and complex character, and far more than the sum of his symptoms. Winner of the 2013 Governor General's Award for children's text. Ages 12–up. Agent: Marie Campbell, Transatlantic Agency. (Mar.)
VOYA, February 2015 (Vol. 37, No. 6) - Paige Garrison
When OCD sufferer Adam meets Robyn at his support group, he is quickly smitten with her. After a long time of refusing to do the homework assigned by the group therapist, Adam decides that if he wants to have a shot with Robyn, he has to get his compulsions under control. But that is easier said than done. Dealing with divorcing parents, a younger stepbrother, and his mother’s own issues, Adam finds out that sometimes coping and getting closer to people means that difficult secrets are hard to keep. Toten’s novel deals with a subject that is often overlooked in young adult literature and the fact that her young protagonist deals with OCD in his daily life is handled honestly. The book does not promise a miracle cure but rather remains focused on how to cope with OCD. Adam is a protagonist that readers will root for and can identify with as they read. The plot is relatively simple, with Adam’s quest to have a shot at being Robyn’s boyfriend while juggling his home life, and the simplicity of the plot serves the novel well. If Toten had tried to cram different elements into the novel to make it “extraordinary,” it may not have worked as well as it does. Purchase this book for a collection where diversity is needed. Reviewer: Paige Garrison; Ages 12 to 15.
Children's Literature - Kasey Giard
Almost-fifteen-year-old Adam meets Robyn at his group therapy session for teens with obsessive-compulsive issues. It’s hardly the setting for romance; but Adam cannot deny how he feels for her, and Robyn seems drawn to him, too. Maybe. Robyn’s most troublesome days seem to be behind her, Adam’s life continues to spiral out of control. He’s at the mercy of his half-brother’s anxiety issues, and his mother refuses to get help although the threatening letters she receives seem to be getting worse. As Adam desperately struggles to hold everyone together, he begins to split at the seams. It may be the voices of those in his group that bring him the strength and courage needed to face greater truths about his family, his condition, and himself. Adam faces a lot of challenges related to his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), from counting to threshold issues. While his OCD is an important and ever-present element in the story, it does not dominate who Adam is. He is also kind, funny, loves selflessly, and is wholly devoted to his family. Each member of Adam’s family and community circle comes across as complex and essential to the tale as well. Toten does not leave readers with a neat and tidy ending with all loose ends wrapped up, which added to the sense of realism in the story. Though there is a sharp change in Adam’s OCD as the story resolves, other threads are left hanging, blanks for the reader to fill. Fans of Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer and O by Sophie Kinsella need to give this novel a read. Reviewer: Kasey Giard; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2015
Gr 8 Up—Hazel and Augustus need to move over because Batman and Robyn are about to take their place in the annals of YA literary romantic couples. The two teens meet in a group setting for those afflicted by obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Adam Ross, aka Batman, has severe OCD that is debilitating at times. He is intimidated when he joins a weekly group because most of the members are a bit older than him; there is also a girl who he finds irresistible. Each group member takes on a superhero persona for sessions at the urging of their psychologist. Adam chooses Batman, and is floored when his crush Robyn chooses Robin in order to be his sidekick. Adam has a knack for helping others who struggle with their own issues, including his half-brother, Sweetie, who has regular meltdowns; his mother, who is a hoarder; and his best friend, Ben, who has a weight problem. Unfortunately, he is so consumed with his own counting, tapping, and difficulties entering thresholds that he does not realize his gifts. Through Adam, Toten examines the trials and tribulations of OCD head on, but Adam also deals with the usual teenage problems of love, friendships, school, and divorced parents. Readers will relate to Adam's anxieties and root for him as his relationship with Robyn develops. VERDICT This is a definite next-read for teens who loved John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012) and Cammie McGovern's Say What You Will (HarperCollins, 2014).—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2015-01-10
What would it feel like to wake up normal? It's a question most people would never have cause to ask—and the one 14-year-old Adam Spencer Ross longs to have answered. Life is already complicated enough for Adam, but when Robyn Plummer joins the Young Adult OCD Support Group in room 13B, Adam falls fast and hard. Having long assumed the role of protector to those he loves, Adam immediately knows that he must do everything he can to save her. The trouble is, Robyn isn't the one who needs saving. Adam's desperate need to protect everyone he loves—his broken mother, a younger half brother with OCD tendencies, and the entire motley crew of Room 13B—nearly costs him everything. Adam's first-person account of his struggle to cope with the debilitating symptoms of OCD while navigating the complexities of everyday teen life is achingly authentic. Much like Adam, readers will have to remind themselves to breathe as he performs his ever worsening OCD rituals. Yet Toten does a masterful job bringing Adam to life without ever allowing him to become a one-dimensional poster boy for a teen suffering from mental illness. Readers be warned: Like Augustus Waters before him, Adam Spencer Ross will renew your faith in real-life superheroes and shatter your heart in equal measure. (Fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
"Hazel and Augustus need to move over because Batman and Robyn are about to take their place in the annals of YA literary romantic couples. A definite next read for teens who loved John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and Cammie McGovern's Say What You Will."—School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"Toten never plays coy with [Adam's] and others' illness, but she also shows Adam as someone straining toward normal and sometimes achieveing it. His plight is sure to inspire compassion in readers."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553507867
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/10/2015
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
74,986
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 2.20(d)
Lexile:
HL620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

TERESA TOTEN won the ALA Schneider Family Book Award and Canada's Governor General's Literary Award for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. She is also the author of the acclaimed Blondes series, as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse, and, with Eric Walters, The Taming. Her upcoming novel, Beware That Girl, is a psychological thriller (Delacorte Press/May 2016). Teresa Toten lives in Toronto.

Visit her online at teresatoten.com and on Facebook, and follow @TTotenAuthor on Twitter.

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The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so accurate in its description of OCD that I cried.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a good book with a bad cover