Title: EVERY LAST WORD
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Release date: June 16, 2015
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook
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.
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NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publicity agency in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.
EVERY LAST WORD is an exceptionally well-written and beautifully-told story about a girl who has spent most of her life hiding the fact that she’s suffering from OCD, desperate to not only appear normal but to be normal. It’s a story that is heartwarming and heartbreaking and incredibly moving. It puts readers in the main character, Sam McAllister’s shoes, giving them a glimpse at what it’s like to live with a mind that has the tendency to spiral out-of-control and the fear that thoughts could turn into actions that could be harmful.
Samantha McAllister never had a problem fitting in, at least not on the outside. She was one of the “Crazy Eights” – she was pretty, she was popular, she was athletic, she went to all the right parties, she went to all the best concerts. But on the inside she knew she didn’t fit. Her OCD, with thoughts that sometimes went to dark places and behaviors she was certain would label her as actually crazy, guaranteed that. She just needed to be able to continue playing the part of normal. The problem was it wasn’t getting any easier.
But when she meets Caroline, a girl who doesn’t seem to care about how she looks or how she dresses or what her friends think of her, a girl completely unlike herself, everything starts to change. She is introduced to a whole new world – one of words, of expression, of people who are confident and supportive. And she hopes to be, she wants to be, she thinks she can be, like them. Someday.
Tamara Ireland Stone did an incredible job with her story. She made Sam someone readers could connect with, empathize with, like and root for. She made her sympathetic but not pitiable. She gave them a better understanding of Sam’s particular brand of Pure-O. And she showed how with hard work, medication, therapy, and the right non-toxic environment that this disorder can be managed.
And she did this in a way that is captivating and wonderful, and sweet and sad and romantic and emotional.
EVERY LAST WORD sheds some light on a disorder that can be debilitating. It tells a story that is inspiring and uplifting and utterly enchanting. It is peppered throughout with some truly fantastic poetry. It delivers a love story that will make readers smile. And it adds a twist that is sure to surprise.
It is a gorgeous and amazing and unforgettable must read.
Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.
(For those who HAVE read this… Yes, I love that this rating TOTALLY ties in to that one part.)
About the Author
Tamara Ireland Stone is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us (Hyperion Teens), which has been published in over twenty countries to widespread acclaim, and hailed as “an exciting debut novel” by Booklist and “a warm, time bending romance” by Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by CBS Films.
Her next novel, Every Last Word, is about a teen girl with OCD who’s hiding part of herself from the world, until she discovers a secret poetry club that changes her in unexpected ways. Every Last Wordreleases on June 16, 2015 from Hyperion Teens.
A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco.