The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B – Teresa Toten

“The boy inhaled as the door opened. It was as if he knew. The girl stepped into the room, and within the space of a heartbeat, he was lost. 

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, he boy was in love.” 

Adam has issues, and the main one at the moment is that he wants to be Robyn’s superhero. But with the focus on that he doesn’t realise that there are other things going wrong in his life, worse things, things that need to be addressed. He starts to act the superhero for Robyn, and in Group, but while he’s there for all the other guys, is he there for himself? For so long he’s put off writing a list and now all he can write is: 

1. Grow immediately 

2. Find courage. 

3. Get normal

4. Marry Robyn Plummer”

***

This book wasn’t what I was expecting. But it was what it needed to be. Realistic and gut-wrenching I was thrown into a side of mental health that I had never really seen before, especially in YA books, and it was incredible just for that.

Whilst I think that that side of things was incredible, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B actually didn’t woo me the way it should have done. It was slow and at times painful for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t feel a proper connection to any of the characters until very late on in the book and if I wasn’t so stubborn I probably would have given up on it a lot earlier than I did.

The setting and the way that the author dealt with mental health was a great positive for me. There was no real stigma, it was just there and it was a way of life for Adam and his friends. I really loved Adam’s neighbour and his little brother but the other characters fell a little flat for me. Adam himself was a brilliant character which made things awful because you wanted him to be a bit more selfish at times, you wanted him to take care of himself more than everyone else, but he just couldn’t.

I think I still have mixed feelings about this book because at times it felt brilliant and realistic but at others – especially when it came to the dialogue – it felt fake and a bit pretentious. I don’t know what it was but there were parts that really jarred with me and even though it was an interesting read.

With a slow start and a bit of a rushed ending I think that this book was a bit of a letdown for me but I did still enjoy it and I would be tempted to read more by the author as I believe she is a debut author.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B was published on March 5th by Walker Books. My copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
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