The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
In a support group for young people with OCD, fourteen year old Adam, short and thin, falls in love at first sight with the gorgeous goddess Robyn.
Encouraged by their therapist to leave their selves outside the door and resume a new identity within the group, they all choose a Superhero. Adam becomes Batman and Robyn, Robin.
Rituals rule the life of every group member. They share common goals towards therapy, and with their new persona, become new identities.
Adam with his series of counting is also threatened by thresholds. He keeps secrets; especially about what goes on beyond the door of his house. His father has built a new family and his half-brother, four year-old Sweetie, also suffers from a form of OCD. The two boys are extremely close and Adam is always available to love and support his brother when his fears strike.
Thresholds play a large role in this novel. New beginnings and crossings herald for Adam a metamorphosis and pure illumination through friendships and love.
This superb book, ideal for an 11+ years’ readership, has many themes. Its characters sizzle and spit on the pages within complex relationship situations which showcase the difficulties faced when living with OCD. Tension and surprise hold the reader’s attention from beginning to end. It’s a moving story about self esteem, courage, struggle, coping with a broken family, and overcoming life’s disorders.