Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Number of Pages: 368
My Rating: 5 stars
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.
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.
This was truly a wonderful read. It’s not often that you come across a book that is just simply beautiful, but Sam’s story was just that. I know that this book and it’s characters will stay with me for a very long time.
I have never read a book that dealt with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder before, so this book was one big learning experience. I know that there’s been a recent trend in Young Adult fiction regarding mental illness. Some people feel that the topic has become romanticized, and that it’s not being dealt with properly. In this book, Sam’s mental illness is not treated as something that makes her “special”. Sam legitimately struggles with her condition, and it oftentimes makes life extremely hard for her to cope with.
Sam’s character was so wonderfully complex and layered. She has so many versions of herself, simply because she feels that she has to hide her mental illness from the people she goes to school with. The character growth that occurs throughout the course of this book is astounding. Sam really comes out of her shell, and is able to become much more confident in her skin.
I really recommend this book to anyone who is curious about Sam’s disorder, or just anyone who enjoys a good “finding yourself” story. I urge you to go pick up a copy when the book comes out in June! Five out of five stars.