Saturday, January 14, 2017

Every Last Word

Every Last Word
by Tamara Ireland Stone

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Synopsis:  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 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.
from the book jacket

Review:  Oh, my.  I found myself crying along with Sam at the end without even realizing that I was crying.  My heart ached for her as she questioned everything that had happened to her throughout the book.  I could have given this book 5 stars just for the ending but I had to remember the beginning too and rate the book overall.  The book starts with Sam and her popular friends hanging out and being teenagers.  The girls were mean girls and very shallow who I just did not like.  I always felt such empathy for Sam but I could not feel anything but disgust for her so-called friends.  Teenage drama about popular girls being mean is not something I need to read or hear anything about.  I have no tolerance for it.  As Sam meets Caroline and the other members of Poet's Corner, the book turned a corner for me.  There was much less drama and more soul searching.  The poems that the author includes that were written by the high school members of Poet's Corner were so poignant and really touched my heart.  I could really feel for what each of the characters were struggling with.  Sam herself was struggling with OCD.  The synopsis talks about her having dark thoughts but those really only appear in the fist chapter.  Sam's disorder is more obsessing about the number 3 (which the author cleverly inserts into the story in various ways) and other things.  Throughout the story we watch Sam grow and blossom as she moves away from her popular friends to people who accept her for who she is.  What a beautifully written book!

Rating: 4.5 stars

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