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.
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: 5th March 2015
Acquisition: Given for review
I picked up The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten at the Walker Books Bookish Brunch. This book, among many others, was one of their titles coming in the new year (March 2015). I was super pleased to be invited to the event! I never get to go to stuff like this, so it was really lovely for the Walker Books lovelies to let me come along. It was a brilliant day and I got to see the incomparable Non Pratt and lots of fun blogger types too! So yaysiecakes and thank you for letting me come along.
Now to the book!
This book was an awful lot of fun to read. I had finished my current read on the way to the event and, like a complete and total rookie, I hadn’t brought another book with me. So I picked this one out of the pile of lovely gifts from Walker as it was one that they all seemed super excited about. They had compared it to Rainbow Rowell and John Green (WHO I ADORE!) so I thought I would give it ago.
I was pulled in from page one. You are straight in Room 13B with Adam Spencer Ross (BEST NAME EVER!) and are present as he sees Robyn Plummer for the first time. As a beginning, it keeps itself quite vague. Toten is holding a lot of cards close to her chest here but it doesn’t make the opening cagey, it makes it intriguing. It is a very interesting book. I love all of the lists that feature throughout written by Adam before his meetings with Chuck and I really enjoyed learning more about Adam’s OCD. The issues he has with entrances was fascinating and occasionally heartbreaking, especially towards the end. The outside influences on his OCD also intrigued me.
I guess the main issues that I had with this book stemmed from pacing. I came to this book after reading The Enemy by Charlie Higson which is one of the most relentlessly paced book I have ever read. So it isn’t so much the fault of this book, and more the fault of what I read prior to this. It is a slow burner. You really have to give it a chance to draw you in because then, I promise you, you will love these characters. Adam Spencer Ross is a brilliant protagonist. His voice is honest and easy to listen to. His younger brother Sweetie is also a fantastic construct that I just wanted more and more of. The entire cast of Room 13B are all interesting in their own ways and, given the choice, I would definitely read spin-off books based on these characters.
On the whole, I wouldn’t rave about this book. I would tell people about it emphatically but it didn’t have the John Green/Rainbow Rowell effect on me that I was hoping for. But that’s okay. Room 13B is still a good book in its own right and, as I said above, there was lots about it that I really enjoyed. As I have already said, I didn’t fall head over heels in love with it, but I do recommend that you go and read it.
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B is an endlessly sweet, compulsively readable book that caught me by surprise at every turn. The way it deals with mental health issues is brilliant and not seen enough in YA and I defy you to find a cast of characters more likeable than this bunch. Walker Books have stumbled onto a bit of a gem here. It burns slowly but brightly and has the potential to do an awful lot of good.