Tuesday, July 07, 2015

REVIEW - EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last Word 
by Tamara Ireland Stone
Publisher - Disney-Hyperion
Release Date - June 16th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

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 was first introduced to Tamara's writing through Time Between Us one of my first time travel contemporaries and I loved so when I head about Every Last Word, I can't deny that I didn't hit request straight away. However this sort of contemporary you really have to be in a particular mood, for me I was in quite an easy going mood so it was perfect for me when Jasprit mentioned if I still wanted to read it with her and gladly said yes.

I didn't really know what I getting into when I was reading this book, only that is what a book from loyal reader of the author. Every Last Word tells a story of girl who suffers with a extreme case of OCD, known as Purely Obessional OCD. From the outside you can't really tell unless you can tell the signs, however when you who looking inside the mind of someone such as Sam is quite the emotional and quite fascinating experience from a readers point of view. Sam is consumed by ugly thoughts, overthinking thoughts as well as the obsession of the number three. She doesn't now why, she just does. When summer breaks up she has to choose between Summer-Sam and Samantha. Then she meets Caroline...and everything changes, finding inspiration in the words and thoughts of a small group known as the Poet's Corner and a boy named AJ Olsen.

Sam hides a part of herself, a self that she doesn't have any control over yet. Her psychiatrist is trying to build to that as her goal as well as going for a swimming scholarship. She has always known that being a part of her friend's circle that she has to be someone who is exceptional and an expectation of their rules. She has to make new friends, be try and be this person that she and Shrink-Sue want her to be. The real her. When it came to her friends I hated them with a passion. God she doesn't fit in there at all, she is far more mature and more superior than them. In the end, it was down to the fact that they had changed and she is changing, evolving without them. Throughout the novel, you find that her OCD comes out in very stressful and in times of anxiety, I guess I didn't really notice it and I don't think that was the main reason of the her story that Tamara was writing either, it was for to be confident, brave and normal. For her to see it and believe it.

When Sam met Caroline, it opened up to place that was going to change her life and it did. A place hidden between walls of the prop room and the stage of the theater, a place known as Poet's Corner. A way to express your feelings, emotions, places, objects in poetry or songs like AJ. Walls covered in paper, wrappers anything that inspired them to write. The principle of Poet's Corner reminded me of Coleen Hoover's novel Slammed, it was another way to escape life but be reminded of everything around you. AJ, swimming were Sam's inspiration and that was only beginning. AJ was much more than just a friend, that had a somewhat difficult start to their relationship but there was some spark between that only they could see. AJ made her feel normal, a way that made her forget less of her OCD and more of a positive. What I also loved though that AJ was just some regular guy, he was hot in his own way, he way beautiful to Sam and that's all that mattered, there was no outside influence on him. He made Sam feel healthy, brave and strong.
"But I think you meant what you said in that poem. Did you?"
It takes effort, but I sit up straight and look right at her. "Every last word."
Tamara creates a very compelling and unique story-line, blending a very sensitive yet very realistic topic of OCD and creating such a powerful, thought provoking and beautiful novel. I guess I've read very few novels with topics of mental health, but I only see that now. This contemporary really covers a spectrum that is unknown to me but enlightening to me at the same time. I didn't have the same opinion when I first started this novel. Sam was just a normal person to me in this book, I think there is a little bit of OCD in all of us but that is human nature, with the way we organise things etc. But words such as 'normal' and 'crazy' have a definitive fine line between them for Sam and as we reach to the far depths of her mind, you can understand how she feels too, but you never truly understand unless your more connected with her than I am.

Rating - 5

9 comments:

  1. I'm having a hard time getting into this book. Giving it a couple more chapters to see if it picks up. Glad you enjoyed it - immensely, at that!

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  2. I've been hearing incredible things about this one so I'm really excited to pick it up. I'm glad it has your seal of approval, Emma! Gorgeous review, dear!(:

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  3. I can't wait to pick this one up. I just bought the audio copy this weekend after hearing so many good things. I find stories with OCD characters fascinating. I read an adult book, a thriller, where the main character deals with it, and it was so debilitating, but I loved seeing her positive progress in managing her urges. I'm happy to see you enjoyed this as well, Emma, and your five stars are another definite push to pick this up sooner rather than later. Wonderful review! :)

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  4. Glad you enjoyed this one, since you're already a fan of the author. I haven't read anything by her. I'm glad she focused so well on a particular type of OCD. Books about mental illness are very much needed.

    -Lauren

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  5. I had no idea that is what this was about, how interesting! It sounds like a fabulous story and I'm so glad you loved it so much.

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  6. The feedback from those who have tried this has been really enthusiastic. The subject is very attractive to me and I hope to try it for myself soon!

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  7. Yeah, I really enjoyed this too, and I wasn't even n the mood for it. :D

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  8. I've never read a book dealing with a mental illness girl but I'm starting to see more and more books like this coming out. I may have to five this one a try. :)

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  9. I really enjoyed this one as well! I really liked how this one opened my eyes to OCD, because I've never really known exactly what it was like before.

    Nice review, Emma <33

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