Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Published: June 6th, 2017
Find the Author: Goodreads
Disclosure: TRIGGER WARNING* (read below). I was sent this book for review. As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.
A New York Times Best Seller
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.
*Firstly, if you are triggered by any kind of talk about OCD and Anxiety or Depression, please be cautioned that this review talks about all three of these things, because they relate to the theme of the book.*
The thing about books that touch upon OCD and other illnesses alike, is that they tend to be very hit-and-miss. Nowadays, it’s very much required that an author does very thorough research into the illness before writing about it, because otherwise it’s not portrayed as lifelike as it should be. In Every Last Word, Tamara does capture what it’s like inside the mind of someone with purely-obsessional OCD. There are many kinds of OCD that vary from mind-to-mind, so it’s always an intricate thing to get just right. As someone who suffers with a few of the types of OCD (Intrusive Thoughts related), Social Anxiety and previous Depression, I was reeled into Sam’s story.
She’s different from other main characters I’ve read about in typical High School books. Although she is popular and has tons of friends, she hides behind the facade of her popularity to mask her pain. She reminded me of Lydia Martin from Teen Wolf, pretending to be someone else to be loved, out of fear of not being understood. Her popular friends will never understand her OCD, she knows this for sure, because one wrong move and she would be kicked off her pedestal. But when she meets Caroline and is introduced to everyone in Poet’s Corner, Sam finally starts to feel normal (even though having OCD doesn’t make her not-normal). They understand her and make her heart sing. But things take a turn, deeply rooted into everything to do with Sam’s newfound happiness, and she’s left hanging by the moment in a fight or flight reaction.
Overall, Every Last Word is a refreshing and welcomed read. Although I would have liked it to be a little more realistic, it did hit the perfect note and captured what it’s like to live with a certain type of OCD. But of course, in real life there isn’t a true happy ending to having this illness and having that reflected would have been a great addition. But that said, this novel truly was a breathtaking read, dealing with complex issues that were handled with grace. Tamara has always been one of the best voices in YA and it took me so long to get around to reading Every Last Word, but now I wish I had picked it up a little sooner. Four stars!
Rating & Recs
For fans of Contemporary YA.
Have you read Every Last Word?
What did you think?
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