Published by Disney-Hyperion on June 16th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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 received an advanced copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I barely glanced at the summary of Every Last Word before I requested it on Netgalley. There was just something about this story that was calling me & needing me to read it. Now, having read it, I am so incredibly thankful that I did. It is a hauntingly beautiful read that consumes you & leaves you hanging onto every word.
Every Last Word was an eye opening story for me. It’s about a young girl, Samantha, Sam, who has OCD. Her parents, sister, and therapist, are the only ones that know about her condition, so having to battle the dark thoughts that consume her on a daily basis, make it difficult for her to go about her day as any “normal” teenager would. She struggles to act as if nothing is wrong when she is in the company of her group of friends. A group of friends that she is realizing may not be the people she should be around. The way in which her mind works causes her to take a strong hold onto something, anything, and she becomes consumed with it and will not stop fixating on it until she has become exhausted, physically and mentally. Sam becomes a different person during the summer, when she is able to spend her time swimming & going to competitions. She’s happier in the summer and her therapist, Sue, knows that. However, when the school year starts, the thoughts start creeping in.
Everything changes the day Sam meets Caroline. Meeting this new friend opens a door, literally, that Sam never knew existed. She’s introduced to Poet’s Corner, a secret room under the school theater, that’s an outlet, and escape for those who need it. What Sam isn’t expecting though, is the boy who opens the door and makes it clear that she isn’t welcomed. In her heart, in her mind, Sam knows that this place is just what she needs. Sam decides to prove herself to the boy at the door, to the whole group, but what’s eating at her is the fact that she can’t figure out how she knows the boy at the door.
This book! The raw emotion & the struggles that Sam faces on a day to day basis shined a new light on OCD and mental illness for me. It’s not the fact that she struggled and how she struggled, but that she was able to overcome so much. The girl you meet at the start of the story is nothing like the young woman you’ve grown to know and love by the end of the story. Sam is so incredibly strong. I have so much respect for this character & admire her so much for the battles within herself that she was able to overcome. This character, alone, that Tamara Ireland Stone was able to create is by far one of the most inspiring characters that I’ve ever read.
Now, I’ve focused quite a bit on Sam, our leading lady, but I must say a little bit about AJ. AJ is the boy who answered the door to Poet’s Corner. I loved him! He is so incredibly thoughtful, genuine, and kind. The relationship that develops between Sam and AJ is a subtle one, but a powerful relationship nonetheless. Their relationship is meaningful. It’s not overpowering and doesn’t take from the story as a whole, it’s simple, yet so much more. Basically, it’s so hard to explain because I truly think you should read it for yourself, and just see what I mean.
Every Last Word was breathtaking and beautifully written. Every single aspect of the story flowed together seamlessly and the story that the author told will leave an imprint on your heart. I am so excited for this book to hit bookstore shelves and become available for everyone. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to read this arc, but I will most certainly be reading it again, as the final product. I can’t wait to reread this story and become reacquainted with Sam and AJ. I promise you, once you read this book, you’ll treasure Every Last Word.
Five out of five stars.