Published by Disney-Hyperion
Published: June 16th 2015
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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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When I originally finished Every Last Word I rated it 4 stars, maybe 4.5 stars. Both are excellent ratings. I’m proud to give books those ratings. But the thing about Every Last Word is that is deserves more. The more I stepped away from the book and the aftermath of finishing the more I actually loved what I read. Every feeling I had stayed with me days later. So what started as a 4 star book morphed into the rating it deserved, 5 glorious stars. Because when all is said and done Every Last Word was fantastic.
Every Last Word is about a girl, Sam, who has OCD, more on the side of obsession than compulsion. Sam has worked for years to not only keep her OCD under control but to also keep it hidden from her friends. See the thing about Sam friends is that they are popular and with that comes a certain level of behavior one needs to abide by or risk getting kicked out. One day though Sam meets a girl in the hallway who opens her eyes to a hidden world she never dreamed of. Deep in the bowls of her high school is a secret group of poetry writing misfits and it is a place Sam has never felt more at home in. As she learns more about herself and Poet’s Corner Sam starts to question just what is important to her life and what is more importantly the best thing for the mental health.
Truthfully, I tried to read a story about OCD once before but I couldn’t do it. I’m not sure why but reading it just didn’t work for me so I gave up. When I read about Every Last Word I was nervous. I didn’t know if the same thing would have happened. But I gave it a shot and you know what, I couldn’t get enough. Instead of not working for me, it ended up working flawlessly. Everything just clicked in this book. The story was really spot on and written in a way that was beautiful yet simple. I was so impressed with what the author did with the concept and how she crafted it into a story of self-discovery and growth.
Poet’s Corner was probably one of the coolest places I’ve read in fiction in a long time. I mean there are a ton of other places mentioned in the book, but Poet’s Corner is the one that just stands out to me. I was half sad the book didn’t include illustrations as I wanted to actually see this magical place that housed thousands of thoughts and words and emotions. It felt like it was parts ‘Friends’ spot at Central Perk and part beatnik club. Basically it sounded awesome and like a place with real history.
I loved Sam. Even when she was making the wrong choices and remaining friends with the girls she knew were nothing more than mean girls, I still loved her. She was human. She was terrified of not having a place to fit in so she twisted herself into a pretzel in order to be a part of something instead of being different. Everyone has been there. We have all changed who we are just to fit in. But what I loved was when she figured it all out. Sam was strong and just needed to realize that. Um and AJ…AJ was like Corey Livingston from What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton. He was just this good guy that nobody understood or took the time to get to know. People dismissed him for reasons, but that was their loss because he was pretty awesome in a perfect, adorable boy kind of way.
Like I said Every Last Word is just one of those books that sits with you and gets better and better in your mind as it does. The story itself is impactful and the characters and writing make it even more so. Sam was not her disease. It was inconvenient for her but it didn’t define her. That lesson alone was powerful enough to make Every Last Word one of the best I have read in 2015. Highly recommend this one.