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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
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Every Last Word

by Tamara Ireland Stone

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Samantha is not looking forward to the start of her junior year of high school. She enjoys the freedom of summer, particularly the freedom she finds on her summer swim team, where she can be “Sam” and can escape the scrutiny of her cadre of cool girl/mean girl friends, the Crazy Eights, who insist upon calling her Samantha. Then she meets Caroline, who is nothing like her popular friends and proves to be a trustworthy confidant. Sam entrusts Caroline with her biggest secret—she was diagnosed with Purely-Obsessional OCD at age 11. Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a secret poetry group that meets in a hidden room under the school auditorium. Poet’s Corner provides a space for Sam, who has always had an interest in words, to express herself in a new way and entertain the possibility of new friends and maybe a boyfriend. Yet, Sam can’t escape the fear that she will not be able to keep her worlds separate. Then again, does she want to? This book is a thoughtful exploration of identity, the power of writing as an act of self-expression, and coming to terms with not being “normal” in an unalterable way. Sam may see words as a means of constructing barriers and works hard to keep her secrets, but her story wears its heart on its sleeve. Fans of Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Dessen and those interested in poetry or in the act of writing as a creative one are likely to enjoy this book.

Rachel H. / Marathon County Public Library
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( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
Samantha McAllister is part of the "mean girls" clique in high school. Underneath her make-up, straightened hair, and carefully chosen outfits she's hiding a secret - she has OCD. She even sees a psychiatrist for it. She knows if her friends ever found out they would torture her, but they've been her whole life for so many years that she has nowhere else to go. Until she meets Caroline. Caroline is the complete opposite of what her friends would approve of. She shows Sam a secret room known as "Poet's Corner" where a small group of friends meet a couple of times a week. Sam discovers a whole new side of herself, a side she really likes, a "normal" side. But she has to keep her new friends a secret.

This story felt flat and unrealistic to me. It deals with a serious topic but doesn't give a realistic representation of it. The story focused on Sam finding herself through friends she actually liked, people who were actually nice to her. Basically it was a typical high school story. Her OCD was sprinkled in here and there and she miraculously hides it from her friends for many years. Sam was very, very quick to take her relationship with her new boyfriend to the next level. There were so many names that I couldn't keep track of who they all were. I was kinda disappointed with the poetry aspect of the book. The only reason for the second star is because I liked Caroline's story towards the end. ( )
  jenn88 | Apr 25, 2017 |
Huh. It's strange to have a book describe your own mind to you...and tell you it's not normal. I hate that this - like every other YA book with characters of opposing genders - turned into another trite, needless romance, but it was well-written and quite beautifully insightful. The twist at the end, while obvious from the first few chapters, was so deftly handled that it was still wonderful and heartbreaking. ( )
  benuathanasia | Apr 13, 2017 |
Ok, gonna try and write a review... obviously. Haven't done too many of these so bear with me. I'm a little split on this book. On one hand the part of me that loved this book for the same reason I love a lot young adult fiction because it is just that... fiction. Thinks happen in a very idealistic way and things have a nice happy ending and that's great. If I wanted reality I'd read the news and just be depressed. I guess I really didn't have an issue with this book at all up until I got to the 'Author's Note' I felt like I had to call the author out on BS. I was legitimately annoyed by the author's note. Don't get me wrong i don't know the girl the author supposedly researched for this book and I don't know the mental health professionals this author dealt with while researching this book. I do know I've had plenty of interactions with mental health professionals whether they were my teachers, therapist, physicians, etc. to feel safe in saying "Sue" is a complete work of fiction. I do not know psychiatrist who would have respond the way she did to Sam's main experience in this book. (I'm trying to avoid spoilers while supplying explanation for my disgruntled attitude. Hopefully I succeed.) Anyway, the reality of the matter is there are different situations in this book that Sue the psychiatrist explains as someone's brain being special and that's is a-ok when in reality what's going on is HALLUCINATIONS and that's not ok. That is not how a person's brain is supposed to work. A person is NOT supposed to hear colors an in spite of what the author claims other people probably can have that experience, with enough LSD. In the real world if your brain starts hearing colors all on its own or experiences the same scenario that Sam (the main character) then your doctor is going to get your butt on some anti-psychotics pronto if not get you in on short-term hospitalization while stabilizing your medications. It's seriously very unlikely your Dr. will be inviting you into her home, around her children so you can have a tea party in her garden and then be sent home to reassess your recent life choices. I think sometimes an author needs to choose between writing an everyday fluff type of YA fiction (which I have no problem with and thoroughly enjoy quite often no judgement there) and writing a serious book about mental illness that supposedly a lot of research has gone into. I found the way psychological disorders were dealt with in this novel to be entirely unrealistic. Also I the instance of suicide in this novel came across almost as if it was suppose to be inspiring. That's how I interpreted it anyway and that's not cool, to say the least. Ok. Well that was my 3rd or 4th writing a book review, definitely my longest review. We can all just hope that in time they come a little more naturally to me. :-) Happy Reading! ( )
  Jessica.Leigh | Mar 17, 2017 |
4.5 stars

This is a really great book. I would label it as mature YA because it does have a sex scene and curse words. It's honest about how teens act, think and feel I believe. Every Last Word has parts everyone can relate to about life, but it focuses on a girl with mental health issues. I think it does an excellent job of putting the reader in the character's place. It has several wonderful messages for adults and teens. I absolutely recommend. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Jan 19, 2017 |
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"Consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off, a girl coping with Purely-Obsessional OCD learns to accept herself and take control of her life through her experiences in poetry club"--

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