The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B is basically described in one word: INCREDIBLE.
Just seriously, wow. This book takes a really honest and relatable look at mental illness (specifically OCD). I got totally sucked in and emotionally tangled within mere pages. It’s only 270-pages and WOAH does it pack a punch.
Basically it’s about Adam who meets Robyn at an anxiety support group and — boom — insta connection. He is dazzled by her and, sure, she’s a year older, but he can work with that. (He is 14. He is a little bit of a silly goose, but endearing.) It deals with the complications of divorced parents, mental illness, family, and first loves and, of course, growing up.
It’s written in 3rd point-of-vew, which sometimes can make a reader feel disjoined and detached? BUT NOPE. I felt entirely in Adam’s thought process. He had a bit of a “bounce” in his step, which was so refreshing to read! Particularly when you know he’s suffering from crippling anxiety. And the book really address it, too! Anxiety affects 1 in 4 people in Australia. Adam is actually trying to get better, too, so the book is uplifting in that he’s going to a support group and working towards managing. It ain’t simple though, folks. COMPLICATIONS ABOUND.
There is also an adorable relationship between Adam and his little 5-year-old half-brother, “Sweetie” (Wendell) who also shows signs of severe-anxiety/OCD. And the kid is only five. Adam is always THERE for his brother.
So let’s talk about Robyn: the love interest! Of course there’s romance, because this is YA, and there’s a good smattering of “insta-love” from page 1. Adam sees Robyn. Adam falls in love with Robyn. I was thinking, “Dude, chiiiill.” But he IS only 14 and he’s so endearing as he goes about trying to be her friend.
Also there’s a superhero vibe. YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU! I am a huge superhero fan, so I loved the little twist of all the kids in the support group taking on “superhero names”. Obviously Adam chose “Batman” to compliment Robyn’s “Robin”. (SO ADORABLE.)
OTHER THINGS TO LOVE:
- That the characters were getting HELP. Often I feel like YA books delve into mental illness, but it’s the path down. What about how-to-start-managing-your-illness?! That’s good info to read about too!! So therapy is painted in a positive light.
- Did I mention comics?! I love this.
- The huge focus on friendship. It was PERFECT. Adam was friends to everyone in the support group, despite being worried and anxious and having zero self-worth. So much win in friendship stories!
- Also the huge emphasis on family. This really is all about family. OH MY FAVOURITE. It was perfectly written and aahhhhh I had all the feels of ever.
Basically The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B is one you need in your life. ASAP. If you want to know what it’s like to live with anxiety (OCD in particular, but anxiety is the root of OCD) then read this book because it’s an A+ representation.