Monday, 10 July 2017

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

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.
 






Review: I don't know why it took em so long to get round to reading this book (do I start all my reviews like that) but having loved this author's previous two novels, and read them back to back, cover to cover, I really don't know why I bought this and then just left it sitting on the shelf! I really enjoyed this read although it was one of those that was actually really different from what I expected it to be.

This book deals with the issue of OCD because our main character suffers from OCD. She has various coping strategies including a new one which she discovers over the course of this book. I thought it was really good that we got to see what every day life was like for her because of her OCD and got to see her visiting her therapist and not being able to cope in certain situations. OCD is such a dismissive term these days, often used for people who like things clean or in order and so to see how it affects someone like this was really great to read. There is also a really good author's note at the end of the book which covers the OCD storyline so I definitely recommend reading that too!

There is also some lovely romance in this novel, as I would have expected from this author and I really enjoyed this aspect of it too. I like the fact that this follows a sort of enemies to friends to more kind of trope but with a little twist on the traditional. There is also an aspect of friends to enemies here and I enjoyed watching that develop too, perhaps I'm a little sadistic in that sense!

The main storyline concerns a group of people meeting up to perform their poetry and how that helps them deal with the other issues that are going on in their complicated teenage lives. This is all pointed out to Sam through her new friend Caroline, but like lots of others in the group, there is more to Caroline than meets the eye and this provides another branch of the storyline.

There are some very real issues covered in this book and also some magical elements, as this author does so well. The balance of real and fantastical/magical is just right for me because I am not usually a fan of things being not 100% real. Overall this was a really good read and I am sure that if you pick this one up, you will enjoy meeting Sam as I did. Obviously there is the OCD aspect of the storyline to be aware of and so you should definitely bear that in mind when choosing this lovely read.

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