Toten T. (2013). The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. Doubleday Canada.
“I sweat terror, Robyn! I’m scared every single second about every single goddamned thing. I worry obsessively about being buried under an avalanche of fear. Jesus, Robyn, I’m scared like only the truly crazy can be.”
“But that, is the definition of courage: you go on despite the fear.”
Stress! Not only young adults who manage Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as Adam, our protagonist, does are affected by it but also those who need to live through anything from a parent’s divorce, broken hearts, to blended families, as we see in the rest of the characters. Toten’s The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, winner of the Canadian Children’s Literature Award, is about an almost fifteen year-old boy who falls in love with a girl. Naturally, a few problems arise. Robyn is older and taller, and has OCD herself. Adam’s parents are divorced and have given him an annoying step-brother. Even though Adam struggles with a lot everyday, he still cares and worries about everyone else in his life. And even though Continue reading
Walton, J. (2017). Words on Bathroom Walls. NY: Random House Books for Young Readers.
Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a disorder where he hears and sees people who aren’t there. There is the beautiful Rebecca who understands him, the Mob boss who harasses him, and Jason the polite, naked guy. At the moment, Adam is unable to determine visions from reality, but when he begins an experimental miracle drug, he starts to think that normal is possible. And then he meets the beautiful, perfect Maya, and begins to think that even love is possible. But when his miracle drug stops working, Adam will do whatever it takes to hide his illness from Maya.
Jackson, T. (2017). Allegedly. NY: Katherine Tegen Books.
“Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official.“
Step back, because you may have an idea of how this story could unfold, but there is a lot waiting under the surface. In a heart-wrenching, emotional break out novel, Tiffany Jackson delivers true grit on the page. Mary has been in Baby Jail and group “homes” ever since being convicted at age 9 for the death of a baby her momma was babysitting. Mary hasn’t believed it mattered much if she covered for her Continue reading
LaCour N. (2017). We Are Okay. New York: Dutton Books for Young Readers.
We Are Okay‘s entrancing cover with a girl standing on her bed looking out into the ocean is perfect for this psychological mystery told through flashbacks. Marin is at university in upper state New York, having fled from California and the very people who love and want to support her following her Gramps’ death. Truly an orphan now, it’s turns out to be the secrets Marin encountered, slowly revealed to us, that made her abruptly leave home and cut off all ties.
When the story begins Marin is staying on an isolated college campus over winter break. Her roommate, Hannah, just left for Christmas, and now she is expecting a visit from her best friend, Mabel. As you may imagine, the December New York setting is stark, cold, and isolated, ready to match Marin’s depression. We aren’t privy to the background of Marin and Mabel’s relationship, yet like the rest of the story it Continue reading
Larbalestier, J. (2016). My Sister Rosa. New York: Allen & Unwin.
What if your parents didn’t believe your little sister was dangerous, but you knew differently? My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier, is a captivating young adult thriller set in New York City that deals with mental illness. The cast of characters, as diverse and as the City itself, smoothly incorporates different economic classes, cultures, races, physical abilities, and sexual orientations. The story revolves around Che, a seventeen year old high schooler, trying to adjust after another one of his family’s moves. His home situation is definetly different – the parents are past hippies who don’t care much for hands-on parenting, the kids’ schooling is incredibly scattered since they relocate so much, and Che is often isolated with his anxiety about his ten year old sister, Rosa, who behaves inappropriately and dangerously when her parents aren’t looking. Che Continue reading