Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Every Last Word {by Tamara Ireland Stone}

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: NetGalley

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.

I loved this story. I went into it wary, because I didn't really enjoy this author's other book, but it blew me away. It was an excellent story, told very well, and I loved it.

Sam is part of the elite group of popular girls in her class. She won't do anything to jeopardize that, which means being careful of everything she says or does, and not being her true self. What her friends don't know is that she has Purely-Obsessional OCD, and sees a psychiatrist every week. Then she meets Caroline, who she has to keep a secret from her friends. Caroline shows her a whole new world, and Sam has to decide which version of herself she wants to be.

I thought this story was very well done. It can be a hard thing to portray a mental illness in a story, so I love how this was well-researched and thought out, as to not wrongly portray it. But Sam is more than her diagnosis. We get to see the well-rounded, complex individual that she is. She has a lot of figuring out to do, so we get to see her grow and change and really figure out who she is as a person. I thought the romance with AJ was cute and sweet, and didn't overpower the darker, deeper elements of the story.

People were talking about the big twist that happened, which had me worried. I actually did not even see it coming until only a few pages before (and then, only because I had read a book right before it with the same sort of twist) and it still took me by surprise. I was very upset about it, which I take as a sign of exceptional writing.

I loved this story. I loved Sam, the secondary characters, the romance (which I hardly say), and the portrayal of mental illness in an honest and refreshing way. I think this is an important story for teens to read, and I would highly recommend it.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Tamara Ireland Stone:

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I definitely agree that the book handles mental illness really well and that the romance didn't overpower the more complex elements. It was a good balance which to me is the sign of a good contemporary novel, and I'm picky.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally