Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Publish Date: June 16th 2015
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Contemporary
Synopsis: 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.
Every Last Word is a book that spoke to me in so many ways. I felt connected to the story, the characters, and most importantly, the subject.
Every Last Word is about a girl’s struggling path for normalcy. In her small world, normalcy is perceived as everything she is not. Sam finds solace with an unexpected friend and in an unexpected place – a secret poetry club. When her usual reaction is to internalize and overanalyze, Sam becomes brave and shares. Everything.
How can you not love a book about a secret poetry club?
Samantha McAllister, to others, is looked at as a normal girl. She is popular, she is involved with a sports team, and she is loved. But if you pay attention, Samantha is not Sam. Samantha is perfect and Sam has OCD. Samantha goes to parties and is in, Sam sees her therapist every Wednesday and has an obsession of things in three. Samantha is not real and Sam is struggling to be. I love her. I was her. And I feel like her life was portrayed in a way that showcased how OCD can affect someone.
I enjoyed the characters. And without spoiling anything for anyone, I have a special place in my heart for a certain character. She was a large part of this story, and someone I did not expect. The dam that kept the tears at bay broke for her, and it is hard to put into words how much I appreciate Stone even more for writing and including her in this story.
High school settings aren’t always a setting that I’m comfortable reading, but I felt that in Every Last Word, it was perfect. OCD can be really serious, and I felt hat a high school point-of-view was a way to show how common it can be.
Stone is one of my favorite authors, and Every Last Word has just solidified it for a “FOREVER” status. She knows how to pull the hidden feelings from the dark corners and really bring them out.