[Review] Every Last Word

Friday, March 18, 2016

Title: Every Last Word

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Genre: Young Adult

Published: June 16, 2015

Source: Purchased at Barnes and Noble

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads

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.
When approaching a new book that deals with a character and mental illness, I'm always cautious. With people romanticizing mental illness around the world, it makes me extremely suspicious of books like this. However, I was still interested in reading this and was glad to be able to finally pick it up after having it spend months on my shelf. I had literally bought it from Barnes & Noble only to stick it on my shelf for a future read. It's a habit of mine, apparently.

Anyway. Every Last Word is a moving story that follows Sam, a teen that suffers from OCD and other conditions that can severely impact someone's everyday life. Ms. Stone does a wonderful job to shape every single character in this book; each one was well crafted -- even the minor characters, causing them all to be so believable. 

The story itself was an emotional rollercoaster with a mind-bending twist that threw me completely off and only made me tear up. For those looking to read this book; the twist happens, blows your mind, and doesn't let go until the very end. 

I've seen a few reviews around talking about it being slow paced and at times, it was, but other than that, it seemed to flow well and in a timely matter in my opinion. 

In all honesty, I really enjoyed this book and I would rate it higher than I am now if it weren't for one thing. Behind the mask of this computer, I, myself, suffer from a mental illness... Depression, if we're getting technical. And though I do not personally suffer from OCD, I know how hard it is to change your way of thinking... to open up and talk, to feel normal. Unfortunately, I also know how consistent it is in ruining everyday life. I can only assume that OCD is just as consistent as depression; never once leaving the person and always in the back of their mind. After reading the book, I've noticed that her OCD and her uncontrollable thoughts weren't consistent, showing the readers how truly debilitating living with a mental illness is and that's a problem.

On top of that, no one can just miraculously stop someone from experiencing the effects of mental illness. My own boyfriend (I love him to death, seriously) can't even do that and I still struggle every day through it. They may numb the pain, but it's only temporary and no one can fix someone else's mental illness. That is what is wrong with a majority of the books containing characters suffering from mental illness; MC suffers from mental illness, in comes cute boy, boy changes life, boy gets rid of all MC's suffering. If this were true, I would have been cured -- a lot of people would, but unfortunately, it's completely unrealistic and setting the "example" to people that you can fix someone like that. Please know that this does not mean you can't help someone... because you can. Kindness and empathy will help more than you know.

Overall, the book was a great, emotional read and I had a good time reading it. In fact, I couldn't really put it down because I was already emotionally invested in it. Even with the flaws I pointed out, I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading it again in the future (yep, one of those books).

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