Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Publication: June 16th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368 pages
Format: Library book
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.
Shelf it on Goodreads
So here’s the alphabetical run down:
I loved the progression of Sam’s character throughout the book. I feel like I may have liked this book so much because I can relate very closely with Sam. No, I do not have OCD, but I moved to a new school halfway through high school and was in a group of toxic girlfriends that I felt like would have turned on me for one wrong decision. And I love poetry and started writing poetry in high school, just not as part of a cool underground group of misfits. That would have been amazing!
I really loved AJ as well. I felt like he was good for Sam without being unrealistically perfect for her.
This cover makes me sad because it doesn’t live up to the beautiful story inside. I like the handwritten title on scraps of paper, it definitely fits the story, but the bland color just makes the book fade into the background instead of standing out on the shelf.
Although Sam and AJ’s relationship was central to the plot, it wasn’t purely about the romance. I felt like their relationship grew organically throughout the book and was a main focus of the plot without taking over and being the only focus.
There’s something about this book that I love, but I can’t explain for some reason. When I think back on it I keep wondering why I gave it 5 hearts, because I typically reserve 5 heart ratings for really epic books that just blow me away, but then I pick the book back up and open to a random page and I just fall in love with it again. So this is what I’ve come up with; Every Last Word is a mashup of two other contemporaries that I have loved: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. The “mean girls” aspect of Sam’s clique at school and overall just her high school experience reminds me of Before I Fall. The incorporation of poetry and the sweet, but not perfect high school romance reminds me of The Sky is Everywhere.
Every Last Word pulls you in quickly. I loved that Sam has a healthy relationship with her family and her psychiatrist. I loved Poet’s Corner and I wish that I had joined a group of misfit poets in high school (many, many years ago); I would have fit in with them so much better. And I really loved AJ. I love main character boys that I can see my seventeen-year-old self having a crush on.
There isn’t anything incredibly mind blowing about this story, but I actually loved the simplicity of it. It tackles a serious illness without being too heavy or depressing. And from the author’s note at the end of the book, it seems like Stone did an incredible amount of research and has personal connections to someone with Purely-Obsessional OCD.
“They pride themselves on normalcy and perfection, and they can’t ever find out how far I am from those two things.”
“Suddenly I feel more like a stripper than a poet, two minutes away from exposing myself to these total strangers who may think I’m plastic, but don’t currently think I’m nuts.”
“Everyone’s got something. Some people are just better actors than others.”
“I’m merely reminding you to embrace who you are and surround yourself with people who do the same.”
This book was difficult for me to rate, but when I finished reading it, I actually was inclined to pick it back up and start at the beginning all over again. (I didn’t, but I wanted to!) So in my world, that means 5 hearts.
Have you read Every Last Word? What did you think?