Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone // A Rich and Enlightening Look at OCD

Monday, 2 November 2015
Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone
Publication: June 16, 2015, by Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Mental Illness, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

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.

My Thoughts:

I love books that deal with subjects that have some kind of mental illness-theme in it. OCD is something I've never read about before, that's for sure. I used to think that I might share some aspects of it, but after reading about Sam's experience with it and how she found love and began to see herself as more crazier than she thought she was, I am nowhere near that. I seriously praise Tamara Ireland Stone for writing about a story that is so true and realistic that I just imagine Samantha in real life, maybe being in my school or living in my community. It's interesting, relevant and realistic, leaving you wondering about what life will actually bring to you. 

Every Last Word makes sense. It's not a fantasy or paranormal story with ghosts as readers may initially think from when they were introduced to Caroline's character. It's a contemporary story that is more real than anything else. It features love, poetry and love for things that can help teenage girls like myself forget about everything else for a while. Did you ever wonder what it's like to be a teenager in modern day 2015? This book will give you the answer, more real than anything else. 

I loved this book. I finished it in a quick nip of time and I can't stop thinking about it until this very day. It's wild, unique and pretty damn sexy at times. Sam and AJ are adorable and no, I don't care that it was instalove-d and that they had a happy ending. Of course they did. But are we really expecting some kind of unpredictability where a plot twist will kill readers and make them have trust issues? I didn't expect or want that at all. Yes, this is a pretty positive look at OCD and Sam's perspective of it all, but I don't think that a dark, moody look at it would've provided any kind of better rating.

Sam has had a tough life, yes. She was diagnosed with OCD at the age of eleven, and she realized that her life with her friends basically ruined her positivity, or the lack of. She does everything in threes, and feels that if she doesn't, something bad will happen. She was popular, in a group of stupid girls who only cared about themselves and which guy they'll kiss next. They treated Sam like she was nobody, caring about what other people think. And Sam kept this secret. She let them treat her like trash and let them make assumptions. That's what us girls do. It's horrible, actually.

I love books where girls are having a tough time in life and love basically saves them. If poetry and AJ hadn't come to Sam at this moment, then I imagine her going into straight depression and not knowing what to do with herself. She'd think things are real when they aren't (I'm hinting you at something here), and I imagine Sam doing what I would do. It's physically difficult to gain this kind of connection with a character and a reader, but that's exactly what happened in my case.

Tamara Ireland Stone is a majestic, easy-going writer. Her novel is very hipster, and in the way of poetry being Sam's saviour. I totally understand that. I could go on and on about how writing and literature could help a person out, but I guess that you understand that since I continue to ramble on and on about books everyday of my life. *inhales sharply* This story is so relatable, even if you're not dealing with any mental health issues. Every single reader could find something to enjoy and obsess over.

Sam finds a friend named Caroline, who loves the same kind of movies that she does and has dealt with depression in the past. The thing is, she relies on this girl too much. And Tamara then handed me a plot twist that made me internally scream and rip all of my hair out of anger. I could not believe it. I cannot even state if that was a good thing to have been added into this story, or a bad. But the clues did add up, and AJ's reaction didn't seem like the best for Sam's situation.

YES. This one was perfect and I can't stop thinking about the ending and how this made me feel. Every Last Word is interesting, special and life changing, just like how some of my most favourite books in the world make me feel. If you're looking for a book that will add that extra spark into your life and make you happy since I promise that it's stuck with a happy ending, then this is it. Since I own one of Tamara's other novels, you'll see me heading to that one soon because I need more, pronto.

Have you read any books about OCD before? Any ones in YA? What do you think of stories based on true events?

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