Every Last Word by Tamara Stone
Pages: 368 Pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, June 2015
Overall Rating: 4/5
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 felt like this was definitely an enjoyable read, considering the sensitive subjects that were touched in this book. It wasn’t uncomfortable, the author presented the matters at hand that made it easy for the readers to understand. As someone who knows very little about OCD, I found that it was insightful and a great glimpse into this issue. However, as someone who is not very knowledgeable about OCD, it is difficult for me to commentate on how accurate the illness was portrayed in this book. Nevertheless, I truly commend Stone for having the courage to write about these subjects, as many young adult novels shy away from these type of subjects.
I really enjoyed the poetry aspect of the book as well. The excerpts of poems reminded me of Colleen Hoover’s “extras” in a few of her books.
I think I just found the situation our main characters were in was a bit odd and somewhat unnatural/forced. The plot felt to be lacking a bit, in terms of fluidity and development.
Writing Style: 4/5
I think that the issue with many books that deal with mental illnesses is the level of accuracy in portraying the illness. This also applies to books that deal with other health issues. As much as an author can study about a certain illness, it is much different from someone who has experienced an illness, I’m sure. However, I feel like Stone gave a great effort at tackling the illnesses that were brought to attention in this novel. I truly don’t mean to offend any one who disagrees; I have mentioned this earlier but I am not very knowledgeable with these illnesses, but I do feel like this gave me an insight into the subjects mentioned.
Aside from that I didn’t have any HUGE problems about this book, I liked the writing style, but I felt like plot and character development was a little lacking. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a YA novel dealing with mental illnesses, or anyone who is look for a bit of a diverse read.
If you’ve read this book as well, I’d love to hear your thoughts!