The unlikely hero in room 13B – Teresa Toten
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Adam so wants to be Robyn’s superhero, but how can he let himself fall in love when he can’t even save the world?
What he needs is a list:
Marry Robyn Plummer.
A beautiful, funny and heart-wrenching story of love, brokenness and the purest form of bravery: giving in and asking for help.
Adam Spencer Ross is not doing well, his OCD has taken over his life, from his need to count to his threshold issues. He now attends a group alongside his one-on-one to try and get to grips with his compulsions and start to take control back. He rarely joins in, preferring to sit and digest. That is, until Robyn Plummer walks in, tall and beautiful she takes his breath away. For Adam, it is quite literally love at first sight. Robyn is a year older and comes with her own emotional baggage, however to Adam she is perfect. She gives him a reason to carry on attending group, a reason to get better, after all, how can he save Robyn when he is still sick himself?
The girl made her way towards the semicircle of chairs, not smiling exactly, but not hesitating either. She was older for sure. Probably. So it was hopeless, of course. She sat down directly across from him, at her end of the semicircle. Without looking up, she crossed her genius, perfect legs and flipped a long black braid behind her. By the time he exhaled, the boy was in love.
Toten, T. 2013, p.1
Group is run by the brilliant Chuck, who asks them all to pick a character. One which they will be for their sessions, in the hope that it will help them to open up. As they go around the circle of the nine attendees a theme starts to emerge, all picking superheroes (and one Snooki) – Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Iron Man, Green Lantern, Captain America, Thor. With Robyn choosing to be Robin, there’s only one obvious option for Adam – He must be Batman!
By channeling Batman, Adam is going to be stronger, braver and above all, fixed.
Adam lives with his mother, who following her divorce, finds her mental health slipping, hoarding everything. The house is becoming harder and harder to maneuver through, let alone the threshold issue Adam has with entering the house.
His father has remarried and started a new family. Sweetie is Adam’s younger half-brother, who is dealing with compulsion issues of his own. Which results in frantic moments, that only Adam can talk him down from.
To make things worse, Adam’s mum has started to receive letters. Letters that are upsetting her and causing her stress. Adam must get to the bottom of it, and find out who is threatening his mother.
The unlikely hero in room 13B is about growing up, friendship and naviagting relationships. The backdrop of the OCD, with all the compulsion and anxiety relating to it is rather an additon to the story, rather than the story itself. In alot of ways the story is about Adam finding his footing in a world that doesn’t make sense and becoming a stronger person for it.
Written in a compelling way, with enough medical information to follow the story without feeling overwhelmed, The unlikely hero in room 13B is a great read. As you read, you root for Adam to find his place in the world and to become the hero he craves to be.