Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone | Book Review

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Reading Group: 16+/Sensitive Material (Mental Disorders, Suicide) 

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Given Summary: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.

Cover: The cover of this book has each word on a different scrap of paper.  Representing how the poets would write on whatever paper they had available to them when they had inspiration to write.  

My Review: I must have a thing for books that involve some form hallucinations.  I feel like I've read  quite a few books recently with this topic.  It's really only my third (Along with Vanishing Girls and Sweet Nothing), but I've read them in a short period of time.  I've also been reading a few books that contain mental health issues so this book was right up my alley for current interests.  OCD is something that seems to me one of form on mental health that isn't talked about much.  Lately anxiety and depression have been front page and other mental health issues have been pushed off to the side.  This novel does a really good job showing that OCD is more complicated that having to be super neat or having intense rituals you have to do before going to bed.  I also liked that this book had the friendship and high school aspect.  There are friends that you may have had since elementary school and even though you know you're growing apart from them, you don't want to walk away from them because you don't have anywhere else to go.  Especially once you get to high school and it seems like everyone has their friend group.  Which is why you may need to try something new in order to make new friends.  For Sam it was poetry and the secret Poet's Corner.  With this group of friends she's more willing to share small details about herself and her OCD that she wasn't able to with the friends she grew up with.  And of course, a boy was involved, and you guys know I can't help but love a good love story.  AJ and the rest of the kids in Poet's Corner are able to understand Sam because they all have something that makes them feel different and like outcasts in some way.  However, when Sam discovers that her mind conjured up Caroline as a way to help her through stressful times, she removes herself from everyone.  Anyone would be freaked out if they realized they accidentally imagined their best friend, but when you already struggle with your thoughts, it makes it even worse.  Sam needed to accept herself and realize that there was a whole group of people who were also willing to let her in, she just had to let them.
One tiny thing that I noticed and liked about this book was the chapter titles.  Sam does a lot of things in threes, so all of the chapter titles are three word phrases, even the title is three words.             

Smile!  I'll talk to you soon!xxx
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