cover image The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

Teresa Toten. Delacorte, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-553-50786-7

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.%E2%80%9D 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%E2%80%9D). 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%E2%80%93up. Agent: Marie Campbell, Transatlantic Agency. (Mar.)