Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: Young Adult, Coming-of-age.
Page Count: 368
Published: Published on June 16, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion.
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.
This is the first book I have read for pleasure in well over a year and I have never been more satisfied. I went into this novel only knowing the brief synopsis from the back of the book and I am so glad that I did. Knowing nothing about the plot of the novel made this read all the more surprising and I now know why it is a New York Times Bestseller.
Stone perfectly portrays what it’s like for a girl in high school, especially for a teen who suffers from a mental disorder like OCD. This novel is perfectly descriptive to the point where I have actually noticed my own OCD more and more. Reading through the eyes of Samantha you actually feel everything she feels and experiences– you cry with her, laugh with her, even get nervous when she does. You feel the same butterflies Samantha feels when interacting with her love interest and you feel inspired to write when she writes her poetry.
The first chapter of the novel was quite difficult to understand because you are thrown right into a scene with characters you have not yet adjusted to, but once you get over that heap everything makes sense. You are completely sucked into this novel with each chapter, unable to put it down because you are itching to know what is going to happen next. I followed this novel front to cover in a span of one day, and at approximately the last 75-50 pages I was hit with the biggest twist. The book takes such a drastic turn that you would never expect, but it makes so much sense after you calm down from the excitement. Needless to say, you will cry through from this moment to end of the novel.
The character of Samantha McAllister is overall an incredible character. You constantly are going from the story to inside her thoughts, making you fall more and more in love with her. Stone does a smart and beautiful thing when she lets you into Samantha’s thoughts, especially in situations of high anxiety where you can actually hear the battle in her head. You truly feel like you are living Samantha’s life as the novel progresses.
The power Stone carefully puts into the words of this novel are out of this world and you would think that she herself, experiences OCD. Upon reading the editors note you find that Stone actually did extensive research for this novel to portray this story. Stone also describes that she personally knows a girl very much like Samantha and we learn how she has ended up and continues to deal with her OCD, making Samantha very much real outside of the literary world.
For anyone looking for a new read in the Young Adult genre, this is the book to read.