The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten
–review by Bronto Incognito
“One kiss and he would have died a happy Batman.”
Book-a-likes: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, The Program by Suzanne Young, By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
I didn’t know much going into this book other than it dealt with mental health and it was a short enough audio book that I could listen to it and finish it before I got the book I was on a waiting list for.
First off, yes, this is a contemporary book and yes there is a romance in the story. Adam, the narrator, falls for Robyn the first time he sees her in his OCD group therapy. He decides the moment he sees her that he will get over his problems, he will do the workbooks, he will write the lists that Chuck the therapist has been pushing him to do for weeks. He will get better and he will be her savior.
Yes, he’s got a bit of a hero-complex. Then again he’s a high school boy with his first serious crush, so what are you gonna do?
One of the things you’ll love in this book if you’re a Marvel or a DC fan is that everyone in group is supposed to take on a persona to help leave their hang-ups at the door and do real work. One girl picks Snooki (yes…THAT Snooki….)
But everyone else picks a super hero name. When Robyn picks Robin, Adam is immediately like, “I’m Batman.” Which should make people like SuddenButInevitable very attached to our dear MC.
As the kids go through group together, Batman seems able to help them in ways that even Chuck wouldn’t have thought possible. Robin has taken an interest in Catholicism and lucky for her Batman goes to Catholic school. And the newfound rituals seem to be helping her manage life in a non-OCD way. Pretty soon everyone else wants to take a stop in at Batman’s church.
If only the church thing worked as well for him.
Because though he doesn’t want to see it, Batman’s issue are getting worse. He’s not counting things out loud, but he can’t seem to stop doing it in his head. His threshold issue that used to affect him in only one or two locations has started following him home. It’s taking him longer and longer to go through the rituals and get through his own front door.
Which might have something to do with his mom being a fairly intense hoarder. Or the creepy letters she’s been getting in the mail criticizing her for how she lives her life and what she’s doing to her son. But Batman loves his mom and if she doesn’t want people to know about the letters or the mess, he’s not telling. Not Chuck, not even his dad.
Because things are just as complicated at Dad’s. Stepmom loves him to death because Batman seems to be the only one able to calm his 4 year old step-brother (whom everyone calls Sweetie) when he’s going through his own special anxiety issues. It seems like it’s always up to Batman to fix everyone else’s problems which leaves him little to no time to face his own.
Adam/Batman is a great character because he feels real and has legitimate problems. I also can assure you that this is NOT one of those books where the romantic relationship is going to solve all of the problems. It’s helpful in some ways and harmful in others. Also, Adam really does get to be a hero to some people in his life–having OCD doesn’t entirely define him. It’s an issue he has to face and work on, but he has other skills and interests and can contribute to making life better to those around him. Too often these books only end up being how this one person heals themself. Thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think it’s one that’s going to stick with me for a while.
Check out some of my other contemporary reviews!