Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone10:00
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 won this book way back in the summer, and since then it has been gathering dust on my shelves. Whilst I was home for Christmas, I decided I'd give it a shot, and it was one of the best decisions I made all through the holidays. If you have it piled on a shelf somewhere, pick it up asap!
Every Last Word is about Samantha, a girl who suffers from OCD, and is keeping it a secret from all of her friends. Her family and psychologist are the only people who really know the full extent of her OCD, and her friends are just too judgemental, and bitchy, that she can't let them know. One day, just after the new term starts, she meets Caroline, who seems to know a lot about Sam, and urges her to find Poet's Corner. When she does, Sam discovers more about herself than she though possible, and she can finally be herself for once. As she makes more and more new friends with other members of Poet's Corner, her OCD symptoms don't seem as bad, and she might be finally ready to let other people in on her secret.
Right, so Samantha, or Sam, was a truly wonderful character. I've never read anything that covers OCD before, and don't really know too much about the condition. Sam's affliction manifests itself in an obsession with numbers - she has to do stuff in a certain way, and numbers play a big role in that. She's always done everything she could to hide her symptoms, but it's getting too hard, especially with the symptoms seeming to worsen. Caroline appears at the perfect time to help her, though Sam did a lot to help herself. Her poetry and writing is one of the only things she doesn't obsess over, and being able to share that part of herself with new people really helped her come to terms with her condition. She knew she wasn't perfect, and over the course of the book that didn't bother her as much any more.
Her relationship with Caroline was so enjoyable to read. Caroline just understood her, and was there for her to fall back on if necessary. But Sam did most of the work, and for that I'm truly proud of her. I kinda clicked what the whole twist with the book was, but just before it happened. Even so, it still bowled me over, and afterwards seemed obvious, but at the same time, not.
I liked how the romance wasn't the be all and end all of the book. Because of their history, it wasn't all love at first sight between Sam and AJ, and it actually took a while before proper feelings came into play. To me, the friends to lovers tropes is one of the best, and I love how AJ and Sam started off disliking each other, to being friends, and gradually getting closer until it was full on love.
Honestly, the only thing I disliked about this book was Sam's original friend group. They were the bitchiest group of girls I've ever seen, and I'm not surprised Sam couldn't be herself around them. Everything else about the book was fantastic. I read it in just over 11 hours, because it was too good to put down. I've not read the author's previous series, but I'm definitely adding them to my TBR. I can't recommend this enough!