Saturday, December 10, 2016

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

Title: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Author: Teresa Toten
Year Published: 2014

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 287
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2016 Google Reading map): Canada

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library

Summary (from the back of the book): Adam Spencer Ross is almost fifteen, and he's got his hands full confronting the everyday problems that come with having divorced parents and a stepsibling. 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?

Review: This book won the Schneider Family Book Award for 2016. The Schneider Family Book Award is a new addition to the American Library Association's Media Youth Awards and honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. 

Holy moly, this book packs a punch! It is so good at getting inside the head of the main character, Adam, and his OCD issues. In fact, I really feel like I understand OCD much more after reading this book. But, it isn't just a book about teenagers with obsessive-compulsive disorder, it's about family, friendship, and first love. Adam's sensitivity to others, his need to help fix and take care of his friends and family all feeds into his disorder and makes him a wonderful main character.

I also loved the adults in this book. You can see that Adam's dad had to do what was best for himself and he is trying to do what is best for Adam. Adam's mother is dealing with her own issues, both real and imagined. Adam's priest and therapist are such caring and thoughtful characters that I am glad they are in Adam's life. That sounds like Adam is real and I realize that's how this book made me feel: as if the characters really exist and are still out there living their lives.

At the end of the story is a short question and answer with the author that really explains how she made such a believable book and is well worth the read at the end.

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