Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Number of Pages: 368
Publishing Date: June 16th, 2015
So, this weekend, I thought I would read a couple of books to try and catch up on my 2015 reading goal. The first book I read was Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. I started reading it on Friday around 2pm-ish. I finished it on Friday at 11pm-ish. I. absolutely. loved. this. book. It touches on so many important issues that never get talked about in novels (let alone YA novels). I found myself so deeply touched by the characters within this novel, the inspirational and totally relatable quotes that the author so intricately crafted together, and the multiple subjects that were talked about that I really appreciated and loved.
The rest of this review is spoiler-free.
The one thing that I really loved about this book was that although it did focus on a lot of dark subjects (OCD, depression, suicide, etc.), it didn’t feel like a heavy read at all. I did cry a couple of times while reading it, but never because it was too dark or heavy for me to handle. I really love how the author handled such a touchy subject like OCD with such grace and respect and realness and I just. YES. Y E S. *virtually applauds the author* This book sparks a huge discussion about OCD and mental illness and suicide and more. I feel so grateful that there is a book like this in existence because everybody needs to read it. I made this review as spoiler-free as possible, because I honestly think you should just go into this book without knowing much about it at all. It’s one of those books that can really have an effect on you, especially when it takes you through such unexpected twists and turns.
The character development in this book is amazing. Samantha is the popular girl that everyone envies. But what they don’t know is that she internally struggles with Purely-Obsessional OCD. Reading from Samantha’s perspective gave me such a new view of what people who struggle with OCD go through. I guess I had this stereotypical description in my head of what OCD was. And this book has given my view and outlook on OCD a complete 360-degree change. There are so many different types of situations and struggles that people with OCD go through, and this book really opened my eyes to that. However, even though she had this mental illness, I still related to Sam a lot. I related to some of the events that took place in this book, such as Sam’s dealings with friendship and some of her anxieties. The raw emotions that the author writes about are honestly a part of what makes this book so amazing and real. When you’re reading this, it’s not just a book. It’s as if Sam’s there next to you, telling you her story.
“What you see … It isn’t me.”
Sam isn’t defined by her mental illness, and that was one of my favorite parts of the entire novel. She is always in a constant battle with her own mind, yet she’s such a strong character. This isn’t a book about OCD. It’s a book about a girl who happens to have OCD and she bravely and defiantly deals with it on a daily basis.
“Everyone’s got something. Some people are just better actors than others.”
I really loved all of the other characters in the story. From Caroline to AJ to Sydney (whose poem about chicken nuggets stole my heart, as I myself am an avid nugget connoisseur), so many of Sam’s new friends (and old friends) that we get to meet in this book have details about them that made me think, “Yep, I know someone like that!” Having characters like that, with all sorts of different types of personalities, made this book so realistic. I found myself wanting to know more about every character and their backgrounds and what their lives outside of Poet’s Corner were like. All of the side characters in the novel were really well written and I really enjoyed reading about all of them!
I loved the usage of poetry within this novel. I personally am not really fond of older poems (I find the wording and older vocabulary makes it very hard for me to fully comprehend what the poetry is truly about), but newer poetry with modern words truly fascinates me. So, when the poems started popping up in this book, I was enthralled. Every poem was so unique in its own way and I loved all of them. I’m kinda sorta considering dedicating one of my notebooks to writing my own poetry. I always knew that poems were artworks in word form, but I don’t think it ever really hit me that poetry was a source of venting and letting out what you couldn’t hold inside anymore. So, hey, I’m going to try writing some poems. Maybe one day I’ll find my own Poet’s Corner and I’ll get bombarded with glue sticks (after reading this book, getting hit by a ton of glue sticks has made it onto my bucket list).
“If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.”
Aside from the brilliant poems featured throughout this novel, Tamara Ireland Stone’s writing style was so amazing. So, so amazing. It was very easy to read and I am hoping to pick up a few more of her books in the future!
The plot twists that occurred towards the end of this book took me by total surprise. After trying to recover from the most unexpected twist that this book could hold, I thoroughly enjoyed the ending that this book had. It was a really strong ending and, as I keep saying, it had a really strong effect on me.
Like I always say, I save my 5-star ratings for books that move me and books that make me laugh and cry. This novel is definitely one of those books.
So, have you read Every Last Word? What are your thoughts? Comment them below!