Every Last Word
by Tamara Ireland Stone
Read: May 30 - June 1, 2015
Published: June 16, 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Source: NetGalley (THANK YOU!)
Category: YA, Contemporary, Issues, Romance, OCD
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
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.
I am not much of a crier when I read, but I sobbed through several parts of Every Last Word. Granted, it was likely partially due to the fact that I read most of the book on the train ride home from BEA, when I was sleep deprived and sad to be leaving all of my bookish friends. But it wasn't all that. My tears also were't because this book broke me in a horrible way, but instead because of how much this story moved me, and the care that I could tell author Tamara Ireland Stone took to tell Sam's story.
Samantha McAllister has OCD, more on the side of Obsession than Compulsion, a secret that she very carefully hides from her friends who often seem more judgmental than supportive. But when Sam meets Caroline and is introduced to Poet's Corner, she begins to discover a different, happier side to herself. She also meets a boy who makes her feel even more 'normal'. But what is normal anyway, and is it possible to maintain it when you're pretty sure you're crazy?
Samantha's friends are horrible. I hated how much anxiety they caused her, and how much she worked to hide her OCD and appear completely normal to them. They pretty much are are Mean Girls, but they've also been Samantha's friends since she was in kindergarten, and I could understand her fear of letting them go. Especially with her worries of being outed as crazy. Although it was hard to watch Samantha with them in the beginning, I loved how starkly those interactions contrast with her new friendship with Caroline and then the rest of the Poet's Corner. Seeing Sam find people who truly listen and care for her is one of the parts of the book that made me tear up. I loved the progression of Samantha's friendships in this story. It's even illustrated by the way that she transitions into being called the more causal Sam.
I also love everything about how Sam's OCD is handled in this book. Although she feels she must hide it in pubic, Sam has a strong support team in her mother and therapist Sue. From the author's note in the back of the book, this is a personal subject, and I could tell all throughout the story that the author took care in how she approached it. In the second half of the book there is a big revelation that happens regarding Sam's illness and though it was a difficult and dramatic moment, I cried again during this scene because of how much Shrink Sue supports Sam through it. I do wish the author had given more explanation in her note about why she included this part. But I loved the way characters rallied around Sam - and the growth she found because of it.
This book has a boy of course, and I adored he and Sam's slow building romance. It has a very antagonistic beginning, but develops beautifully over the course of the story. He is not your typical bad boy, which I always appreciate finding in a book. These nice, shy boys always mean more swoon for me. I also like that the relationship grows steadily and without unnecessary drama, paralleling Sam's personal growth. I was thrilled to find a lot less angst in these pages than I anticipated. Thank goodness for that!
I am incredibly thankful to have met Sam and gone on this journey with her. I could tell how much the author cared about Sam, and wanted to make this book for her. There isn't a lot of unnecessary angst added to increase the drama of the plot, but instead, a steady growth as Sam discovers that she is stronger, braver and more creative than she ever imagined. I love how Sam learns to use poetry and words along the way, and especially the fact that embracing herself allows Sam to open up to others and find a community where she'd never imagined one before.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone.
Sam's friends were absolutely horrible and i hated them so much but i hated the fact that Sam couldn't be herself and had to go to such extreme lengths to hide her OCD from them because she knew they wouldn't sympathize or try to understand what she was going through. It absolutely broke my heart. i loved the idea of Poet's Corner and how therapeutic it was for Sam to let everything out through her poetry writing. Lovely review Lauren!ReplyDelete
They were so bad! But I could imagine the fear of giving up friends you'd had your whole life, despite how terrible they were. However, I loved the contrast of them with the better friends that Sam made. It was so striking to me. The Poet's Corner was fascinating and I loved how important and healing it was for all the participants. I wish there was a secret room like that in my high school!Delete
I've been seeing a lot of positive reviews for this one and am really excited to see that it's been received well. I wanted to read Stone's debut duo but the mixed reviews scared me off. I'm glad to see that her latest is a hit, though, so I'll be picking it up ASAP for sure! Gorgeous, heartfelt review, Lauren--thank you! :)ReplyDelete
I am so, so happy that you loved this book Lauren. <3 I did too. And I agree so much about a lot of it :) The boy was perfect. I loved the girl too. And the plot. Sigh. So perfect :) I don't read this genre much, but I loved this one. And I'm thilled you did too :D Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it sweetie. <3ReplyDelete
I'm really looking forward to this one…so glad you loved it! The romance sounds perfect and it's great to hear that the author handled Sam's OCD. Great review! ~PamReplyDelete
ooh this book had you sobbing?! is it weird that that makes me more excited to read it? haha I have this one waiting on my TBR for me. Now that I know you enjoyed it, Maybe that will encourage me to get to it faster. hahaReplyDelete
Michelle @ Book Briefs
I'm thrilled to see such a praising review from you for this book Lauren, as I've had high hopes for this book when I first heard about it. And I really do appreciate books which show a lot of character growth, so I can't wait to finally give this one a go!ReplyDelete
I am super excited to read this book especially given the praise I've heard for the author's Time Between Us dulogy! I am also really happy to see you liked it, Lauren!ReplyDelete
I am worried about how I will react to the mean girls (I DESPISE mean girls) and I also heard something about bullying(???) which again has me worried but I am still looking forward to giving this one a shot and hopefully I will like the book (AND THE ROMANCE) as much as you did! :)
Lovely review, hon!
Rashika @ The Social Potato
Thanks so much- this book is new to me, but sounds like one I'd really like. I was never popular in high school, but in retrospect I had friends who were horrible to me (at the time) and I never considered cutting off that friendship, because high school is already a mine field, without antagonizing anyone. So it sounds like the author wrote Sam very true-to-life!ReplyDelete
Once they get together, their relationship is very angst free, and I loved that. AJ is definitely one of my favorite boys of the year so far!ReplyDelete
P.S. Your tears are totally justifiable! :P
Miss you, girl.
Okay, so I knew nothing about what this story was about until this review but I am a crier and I want to read it so badly now. This sounds like it has my name written all over it. I can tell how much you loved it here and that makes me want to read it even more.ReplyDelete
I liked this one a lot! Which surprised me, because this definitely isn't my type of read. Tough-issue YA and I have never really clicked. But this one was great! My first Stone book - I definitely want to read more from her. I'm so happy you loved this one as well. Excellent review, Lauren!ReplyDelete
Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!
What bothered me the most about Sam's friends were how much they made her feel "normal" in the beginning even though the relationship was so unhealthy. Ugh.ReplyDelete
Sam was such an easy to relate to character. The poetry thing was so great. I have a personal love for poetry so this book surpassed my expectations.
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