I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Summary (from Goodreads): 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 may seem like a typical contemporary “sick lit” book, but don’t be fooled. This book is more about the main character, Sam, and her life as a teenager. Sam is such a relatable character, as she is filled with determination. There is also some intrigue in Every Last Word, as it features a secret poetry club, making the book pretty fascinating!
On the surface, Every Last Word may seem similar to other books, but it is surprisingly very different. I had some doubts about this book before I started it, because there are so many books dealing with mental and physical illness at the moment. While I have enjoyed many of them and recognize their importance, at times I just want to read something a little more uplifting. As I began reading, I quickly realized that the book’ s main focus is not OCD. Every Last Word revolves more on Sam, the main character’s daily life and her coping method: poetry. I found it really interesting how Sam is able to put her thoughts on a page and make something so difficult to get through sound so beautiful. This book is so well-written and different from other books of its kind.
Sam is a really amazing main character. What sets this character apart is the fact that she has set attainable goals for herself. She aims to get a swimming scholarship to a university far away so she can reinvent herself. She works so hard to reach her goal and never gives up. I also appreciated how Sam doesn’t whine too much about her OCD. She understands it and has people to lean on when she is going through a rough time. Sam helps readers gain knowledge about OCD and ways to get help if necessary. Samantha also knows that her group of popular friends isn’t healthy for her and tries her best to make different friends. She is such an intelligent main character that readers will easily relate to.
The ultimate aspect of Every Last Word is the poetry. This book features a group of poetry fans and writers that get together in a secret room called the Poet’s Corner. I really loved the way the room is described with its orange couch and walls covered in poems. If Poet’s Corner actually existed, I think it would be a place that I would gravitate to. Tamara Ireland Stone has created such a safe environment filled with such accepting characters. I love it!
Every Last Word contains some similar threads to other books I have reviewed recently, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten and The Opposite of Geek by Ria Voros. The main character has OCD, like The Unlikely Hero, and poetry is a large component of the book, which is similar to The Opposite of Geek. The book also tackles some pretty tough topics, like OCD and difficult friendships. Every Last Word is a beautiful book that will leave the reader in awe.