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Young Adult Fiction Depression

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

by (author) Teresa Toten

Tundra Book Group
Initial publish date
Aug 2013
Depression, Marriage & Divorce, Contemporary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2013
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


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.

About the author


TERESA TOTEN won the Governor General’s Literary Award in Canada for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, which also won the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Award, and was chosen by the International Board on Books for Young People as one of its Outstanding Books for Young People With Disabilities in 2015. She is the author of the international bestseller Beware That Girl and the acclaimed Blondes series, as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse, and, with Eric Walters, The Taming. Teresa lives in Toronto, Ontario. Visit her online at and on Facebook, and follow her at @TTotenAuthor on Twitter.


Teresa Toten's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“[A]n amazing read about the twists and turns of teenage life and the difficulty of living with OCD. . . . it will be almost impossible to put down! I would recommend this book to teenagers who are fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.”
The Guardian (UK)

“A compassionate, funny, heartwarming story about a band of misfit teens—It's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for the YA set.”
—Susin Nielsen, Governor General’s Award-winning author of The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

Praise for The Taming
"Walters and Toten offer an unflinching look at the dark side of young love that is both believable and--importantly--entertaining."
—Quill & Quire (starred review)

"Emotional manipulation, fights, making up, sex, abuse--it's all here in one fast read. This collaborative work is bound to catch the attention of teens and fans of books that look beyond the fluff and sparkle of so many teen romances."
—CM Magazine

User Reviews

Teen OCD Novel

A really interesting YA novel about a group of Toronto teenagers in an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) support group. The story focuses on one boy and his desperate desire to get better while struggling with his and his mother's mental illness, and his experience of first love with a girl in the support group. Despite the serious topic, the book does not get mired in darkness, and there are many humorous moments. The book looks at the experiences of the kids without ever feeling like it's teaching or giving a lecture, yet I learned so much about the topic of OCD through reading the book.
The one sticking point for me was the dialogue. The vocabulary of the teens often seemed more suited to California "valley girls" in the 80s or 90s, than to contemporary Toronto teens. This occasionally got in the way of the story for me.
As a whole, the book was tender, funny and well-executed. Teresa Toten won a Governor General's Literary Award for children's fiction for this book.

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