Book Review – Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last Word

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Publication: June 16th, 2015

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Format: Kindle Edition, 368 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health

Read: May 2017

Tamara Ireland StoneGoodreads

 

 

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.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
I loved this book so much. This was a coming of age story about friendship, confidence and honesty. It talked about mental health and acceptance. The story was therapy positive and introduced poetry as an outlet. I loved the way it developed and was even surprised by some of the twists and turns.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing in this book is just so powerful and emotional. It’s poetic, and I love how poetry becomes an intricate part of the writing style as it becomes more important in the main character’s life. It’s easy to read and fun, the pace is steady which I really liked. It’s personable, honest and real.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I love the characters in this book! Each one just feels like a real, honest person with a tangible life and personality. They all made me fall in love with them for different reasons.
Sam is the main character and she has Purely-Obsessive OCD. Her point of view was very specific and very detailed which I enjoyed because it made it possible to try and understand what she was constantly going through. She’s quiet and a bit insecure. She keeps her struggles to herself until she starts to look into poetry. That helps her find her own and to become comfortable with herself more. She becomes braver and more confident and I just loved her growth.
There’s several side characters in this story, some that I love and that I was rooting for and others that I wanted to disappear haha. However, they’re all amazing, complex and well-developed characters. Though we only have Sam’s point of view, we also learn a lot about the lives of the side characters and what they’re going through. They are not just there to help Sam through her journey but as a part of an actual group of people that find solace in poetry and it was beautiful.

Emotionally

I’ve honestly been wanting to read this book since it came out so two years which is a long time and I’m glad I finally made myself pick it up because I loved it!

The plot was powerful. We follow Sam, who has Purely-Obsessional OCD and has been hiding it from her long time best friends. She meets a new friend who introduces her to a secret club in her school called Poet’s Corner which allows her to gain confidence in herself. This book took a hold of my heart from the very first page and didn’t let go until the end. From the raw, emotional writing style to Sam’s personality and struggles, it all captivated me and kept me glued to the page. This year in particular has been really tough on my anxiety and depression and I’m currently living with someone who has OCD, though not the same kind, so I really connected with Sam and what she was going through. Her story really resonated with me personally and I felt a kinship with her which made her a stronger character in my eyes. I felt a really strong bond with her and all I wanted was to root for her and I wanted her to be strong and happy and brave and confident. I was so invested into her personal journey that I lost a bit of the plot. More like I wasn’t paying as much attention to it as I was devouring the book. But the twist towards the middle totally caught me off guard and I did not see it coming! It was both intense, shocking and heart breaking. It was unexpected and powerful but it made total sense after the fact. I kind of want to re-read this book again already because of how much it means to me now. I liked that this book had a therapy positive message. Sam has a counselor that she sees every week that helps her cope with her OCD and with her life in general. That was another thing where I really connected with her on because I don’t really know what I would do without my psychologist to help me make sense of myself sometimes. The ending was incredibly sweet and open ended. I honestly want more from this cast of characters, more from Sam and more of the romance which was also really sweet. As I remember this book while reviewing, I can’t help but compare how I am right now with how Sam is at the end of the book and now I want to re-re-read every word of this story. I NEED MORE!

Sam just got to me. I have a love for character driven books. They are my favorite kind which means I tend to have a lot of favorites when it comes to characters but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a character that makes me feel like Sam does. I really connected with her personal journey, with her struggles, with her fears, with everything that she was going through. I loved her development throughout the story and her growth. It made me feel so great about her and just proud of her in general which is a bit weird to say in regards to a character in a book but that’s how I felt. Again, I want to re-read this book as fast as I can because I feel like I need to make sure it’s as great as I still think it is.

As for the side characters, I pretty much loved them all. AJ was so sweet but consciously apprehensive. He had a past with Sam and her friends that wasn’t the best so he didn’t trust her immediately. But he wasn’t unkind to her either and I love the way their friendship and then after relationship developed. It was sweet and slow and nice and didn’t affect her self-progress at all which I loved. I feel like this story in particular needed a little bit more presence from family. Sam’s Mom is prevalent in the beginning of the book and sometimes throughout but not as much as I would’ve liked. Considering her family are the only people who know about her mental health in the beginning, I was expecting them to be more of an influence and sounding board for her. However, I loved the rest of the side characters. Part of me wants more from all of them individually as well because I feel like this whole cast is out in the world living and continuing and I wanna know what happens!

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It’s a great way to learn a bit more about this particular kind of OCD but it’s an even better story to get lost in. The plot is even paced and easy to read, the characters are genuine and real and the whole thing just filled me with hope. Please read it.

So that’s it for this post! I’ve lowered my review posts to once a week because of how busy I’ve been but I’m glad I finally have the chance to review this book and rave about it to you all. Please let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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