I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 16th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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 really liked this book. I never do half-star ratings, so I rounded this up from a 4.5 because it deserved it.
I read this all in one go—it’s a fast read. It took me about 40% to realize it was in present tense. It was that captivating.
Obviously I have to mention how cool it was to read something about a girl with OCD. Of all the disorders/disabilities out there, this is definitely a rare one to read about. I have a little OCD, but more compulsive than obsessive. So this was interesting.
I don’t really like poetry—but I could understand the power of writing. I used to journal religiously. I could never imagine joining a group to share writing—I’m much better at telling other people how to write than having them read and/or critique my writing. That’s why I’m an editor and not a writer. But the need for a support group—because that’s really what this is—is understandable.
One thing I liked was that it was unusually accurate in portraying her as her age. In some ways she was mature, in some ways forced—a mental issue can age you quickly. In other ways she was still so young. But when I think about that age, that’s how I was. I appreciated it. Another thing I liked was Caroline’s shirts.
I also liked how people could surprise you. People were a bit stereotypical, at first, but then always managed to surprise you. And they acted realistically. Nothing too dramatic. In fact, a lot of the drama was in Sam’s head, which was understandable considering her obsessive thinking. Sometimes people are a lot more human than you think they are.
The twist at the end was definitely jarring. I did not see it coming, but looking back, it made sense. View Spoiler » So it turns out that Caroline was a real person—one who died many years ago. Sam’s brain called her back and made her up into a new person to help Sam deal with her anxiety. She was really just a figment of Sam’s imagination. Wow. Your brain making up a whole, complete person—finding out that your new best friend isn’t real—realizing that you still have an imaginary friend, without having known it—it’s terrifying. I wouldn’t be able to trust my brain after that. That feels much more serious than it apparently is—or was in the story. « Hide Spoiler
All in all, it was a good story—meaningful, and humorous, and sad. But it was very normal.
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