Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
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.
For the past few years, I keep meaning to pick up one of Tamara Ireland Stone’s books, but somehow it never seems to happen. I don’t know why because they all sound like books I would genuinely enjoy. Having now read Every Last Word, I can officially say that I was right and I should have been reading her books all along.
Samantha has become really good at faking normal. If you were to meet her on the street, she would seem to be just like any other girl in her junior class. But underneath the surface and the seemingly flawless exterior, Sam is constantly battling her thoughts thanks to Purely-Obsessional OCD. Because of it, Sam finds herself questioning every thought and decision, constantly afraid making the wrong one and everyone finding out her secret. But then Sam meets Caroline, a girl who introduces her to Poet’s Corner, a secret poetry club that meets in a hidden room. There, Sam feels comfortable for the first time in a long time. And there, Sam also meets AJ, a boy who brings out a whole new side of her and who makes her feel “normal” in way she hasn’t in a long time. But just when she thinks she might finally be able to handle her thoughts, Sam realizes that she should have been questioning her sanity all along.
So here’s the thing, I’ve been wanting to read Tamara Ireland Stone’s books since I first heard about her debut, Time Between Us. But have I actually read any of her books? No. Well, I guess that’s not really true anymore now that I’ve read Every Last Word, but you get what I’m trying to say. Long story short, I’ve been wanting to read her books and now I’ve read one. And I’m happy I did because it’s just confirmed that I need to go back and read her other books. Every Last Word was somewhat different than I thought it was going to be. I mean, I had a pretty good idea of the general story just from reading the synopsis and I could make some educated guesses about what might happen based on that, but there are some parts that I never really could have seen coming. But it would be hard to talk about that without potentially spoiling key parts of the story. So instead, I’ll just talk about the Purely-Obsessional OCD aspect of the story. I found it really interesting to read about this type of OCD. It’s not really something I had heard about before picking up Every Last Word, but now I would be interested in learning more about the disorder. And a lot of that ultimately had to do with seeing Sam struggle with it, and seeing how much it impacted her day to day life.
My heart went out to Sam the whole time I was reading. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to have your whole life taken over by thoughts you have no control over. Every little thought had the potential to send her into a spiral she can’t stop. Her struggle with her thoughts was downright painful to read at time, but it made her and her disorder feel that much more real when I was reading. I wanted nothing more for her than to be able to gain some sort of control over her thoughts and when she started getting “better,” I was totally cheering. And I was also cheering for her relationship with AJ because it was adorable. I loved how relaxed she was able to be with him, how she didn’t find herself overthinking every little thing. And AJ himself was adorable. And what I liked best about him was that he himself wasn’t perfect. He had his own issues he had to deal with and because of that he wasn’t trying to change Sam, he was just there to support her in any way that he could. And have I mentioned that they were adorable together?
I loved reading Tamara Ireland Stone’s Every Last Word. It was a story that opened my eyes to a disorder I didn’t really know was out there while still being a story filled with the kind of romance that i love. If this one has been on your radar, definitely read it.