Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review: Every Last Word

Every Last Word
Tamara Ireland Stone

Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Format: Digital ARC

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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.


My Thoughts:
Okay, so last week, I was emailed with my copy of Every Last Word, and, I'll admit it, I told just about everyone I knew. I was just so psyched to get to read this. And it was worth it.

I think everyone can relate to the high school scenario in this. It deals with characters who don't fit in, who are hiding huge secrets, and the "popular ones". Samantha, Sam, is all of those. She is in the popular group, but she has been hiding her OCD for years. And she doesn't feel like she necessarily belongs anymore. Tamara doesn't disguise the ugly bits of Sam's life. Sam has done some pretty awful things and she regrets them, but they are fully shown anyways.

Poet's Corner makes me wish I had one in my school. It's a bit Dead Poets Society, really, which made me like it even more. But it is just a group of students who are all pretty messed up in their own way, but they understand and encourage each other. They are friends when they have no one else.

AJ is literally who I wish I could be because of his compassion and ability to forgive. He doesn't care what others think about him and he is the sweetest person. And he proves to be both an excellent friend and boyfriend to Sam.

I actually loved the OCD aspect of this. I thought it was described well and I definitely learned stuff. It also got rid of the stereotypes. Tamara shows that OCD has variations as she tells Sam's story. But even though the MC has OCD and is "flawed", she also has one of the best character arcs I've seen. She grows so much throughout.

That "new reason to question her sanity"? Yeah that made me question mine. I was so thrown that I put this book down and just sort of stared off for a while. It's definitely in the running for Plot Twist of the Year. I never saw it coming. But it made the book so much better.

I was so proud of Sam at the end of this book. I love what she did with her life and I think she'll continue to better herself, with, of course, AJ by her side.

This book is full of real-life scenarios and sadness and plot twists, all rolled up and tied with a bow. But it's also filled with happiness and hope. I would read this again in a heartbeat. It is a wonderful story by Tamara that everyone needs to read.

Five Stars

A HUGE thank you to Disney for sending me a review copy!

About Tamara:
Tamara Ireland StoneTAMARA IRELAND STONE is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which has been published in over twenty countries to widespread acclaim, and hailed as "an exciting debut novel" by Booklist and "a warm, time bending romance" by Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by CBS Films.

Her next novel, Every Last Word, is about a teen girl with OCD who's hiding part of herself from the world, until she discovers a secret poetry club that changes her in unexpected ways. Every Last Word releases on June 16, 2015.

A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco. For more information, visit her website at www.TamaraIrelandStone.com

~Ashley

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