Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: 16th June 2015
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 the 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.
Protagonist Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD, something I knew nothing about before reading this book. Sam has obsessive thoughts that she can’t get rid of and can’t control. They can cause her panic attacks by thinking she may act on these thoughts. None of this works well for Sam, especially in her group of popular friends. There is the need to be perfect all the time and the thought of not fitting in and being what other people expect scares Sam.
When Sam meets Caroline things begin to change. She’s introduced to Poet’s Corner, a place where she can speak out and not be judged, a place where she can be herself. Caroline brings out something completely different in Sam, whose regular friends are absolutely terrible. I really enjoyed seeing Sam and Caroline together as Sam became a different person, someone she actually liked instead of someone she questioned all of the time.
This book really shows how certain relationships can make a massive difference in a person’s life. Not only is Caroline someone good for Sam but also her therapist is too. This relationship was something very different for a young adult book but I loved how the therapist tried to get Sam to think of her OCD in different ways instead of it being a bad thing. She tries to get Sam to realise that her OCD isn’t the end of anything but instead she just needs to learn how to deal with it and to learn coping mechanisms instead of acting on initial thoughts.
Every Last Word is such an interesting book about probelms people have and not just teenager problems about boys and being popular. This book runs much deeper than that. The plot is great and there is a massive twist that I would have never seen coming. I really enjoyed this one.