"After reading the summary for Every Last Word, I knew I had to read it. I ordered it straight away and I'm very glad that I did.
Every Last Word is a respectful portrayal of mental illness, an incredibly eye opening read and an insight into a side of OCD that not everyone may heard about before.
I loved the positivity and hope surrounding therapy and really enjoyed the positive family dynamic portrayed in this. It was so nice to read about family members and psychologists who understand/try to help when it comes to mental illness, rather than dismissing it. Although I do wish we had seen more of Samantha's family, as it was brilliant to read and I warmed to their characters instantly. The romance was adorable and I loved the part it played in the story. There was a great balance between it being slightly more lighthearted, whilst at the same time, very much a part of Samantha's story and journey with her mental health throughout this book. I also really loved the element of poetry, I thought that was such a fantastic addition to the plot and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the characters, especially AJ and the members of Poets Corner.
You can tell Tamara Ireland Stone did a lot of research when writing this novel, in regards to living with OCD and anxiety and different types of therapy and I think that research really shows and is much appreciated. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this hugely and could play a huge part in their life and understanding their own mental health.
I personally didn't get the 'shock factor' that a lot of people felt when finishing this book but that may have been because I was told about the 'shock factor' but overall I thought this was an incredibly enlightening read and one that will definitely stick with me." Kate (GirlReading) said.
"Once again Tamara Ireland Stone blows me away with incredible characters and a story I couldn't put down. Put this one on your to be read list immediately and then hide away where no one can interrupt you while reading. It's such a poignant, beautiful story and I can't wait for my finished copy!
Review Finally Written 11/8
Sooooo I’ve been sitting on the fact that I haven’t been able to come up with the words to adequately express my thoughts and feeling about this story since May. Pathetic … I know.
I can tell you this. It will be on my best of 2015 list for sure.
“What if I’m crazy?”
Sam might look just like all the other popular girls at school… straight, perfect hair… perfect makeup… good grades. But she is also hiding a secret that no one would ever guess simply by looking. Beneath the “perfect” façade she’s struggling in so many ways. Let’s start with her friends. She’s grown up with the same group of girls and while that can sometimes be nice, in this case, not so much. These girls that are her friends are a huge cause of stress in her life and though I think she knows this, when we first meet her, she just isn’t ready to give them up. Inside she struggles with obsessional OCD and she worries constantly about everything. Every part of her day is spent second-guessing what she is doing, saying, wearing or thinking and the fact that her friends only add to the toxic thoughts in her head doesn’t help.
But then she meets Caroline and she’s so not the kind of girl that Sam would normally be friends with, she’s funny she pushes Sam to worry less about those around her and more about the things that she wants. She also introduces her to Poet’s Corner. Hidden within her school a group of kids who don’t quite fit in with anyone else have connected and bonded and created a safe-haven where they can share their thoughts and words without judgment and here is where Sam finally finds herself.
There of course is a romance here and Sam finds herself drawn to AJ, a boy that she and her friends tormented in grade school. Because of this, she is bound and determined to show him that she isn’t that person any more.
There have been a ton of books lately that take on the stigma of mental illness and they aren’t always something that I’m dying to read. At times I find they are heavier than what I’m in the mood for, but knowing what I know about Tamara’s writing I knew I had to dive into this one as soon as I could.
While I don’t think I know anyone with OCD, I found that Stone portrayed it in what I felt seemed incredibly realistic and truthful way. Sam’s situation was so hard to read about … the way her doubts and worries messed with her was so sad. . What I loved most here was that Stone was able to portray a person who, while hiding it from her friends, she was still being responsible about it and seeing a therapist, and going to doctor appointments and talking to her family about everything. And what this story shows is that even when you might be doing all the right things, things can still come crashing down around you.
As I said above, there’s a romance here and it was so well done. I have to give kudos to Stone for not changing the direction of the story once the romance comes about, nor does she give the impression that falling in love can cure everything because it certainly doesn’t here. I really enjoyed the progression of the relationship between Sam & A.J.
If you’ve read other reviews, you probably know that there is a twist to this story… one I never saw coming and I predict you won’t either. It was so sneaky and completely brilliant and that’s all I can say about that.
Stone once again has blown me away with her amazing story-telling, her captivating characters and beautiful, poignant story. If you’re looking for contemporary YA that will have you enthralled from the first page to the last, you need to read this. If you haven’t read Stone’s other works, you’re seriously missing out on an incredible voice in YA Literature." Jaime Arkin said.
"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 Cornee, 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! " Sophie said.
" My favorite contemporary young adult of 2015 so far--there is something so completely real and genuine about this novel--which is about a girl with obsessive-only OCD, who basically has to learn to accept and love herself. It's also a celebration of writing and friendship and being brave, which makes it the very best kind of book. " Cynthia Hand said.
"Really loved reading this book. If you liked Made You Up, which is one of my favourite YA books, you're probably going to like this one as well. And vice-versa.
I absolutely devoured this book. Poet's Corner, Sam's development as a human being, the hidden connection between her and AJ, Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist, Caroline... every aspect of this book was extremely interesting and it's just impossible not to be on the edge of your seat when that final revelation comes. It hit me out of nowhere, to be honest. I feel like it's maybe for the best for you to just go into this book without any former knowledge. Sam is a great narrator and she explains everything well so you can understand her life and her choices without a problem. I've been kind of drifting away from YA contemporary books, mostly because the authors just keep using overrated tropes that I have no interest in reading, but this book was a breath of fresh air. Great job Tamara!" Norah Una Sumner said.
" Here is my full, spoiler free review for this book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlekVG... it was absolutely amazing and I hope everyone gives this beautiful story a chance x " Emma Giordano said.
" I think everyone who thinks it's okay to throw about the term 'OCD' when they talk about how they like a clean bedroom should read this book. YA fiction based around the reality of mental illness at its finest. See my full video review here: https://youtu.be/36YPI1tqKGU " Charley Cook said.
" Just wow!! I love this book to pieces! Added to my top reads of 2015. I found so much of myself in Sam and I was sad when her story ended too soon. Everyone needs to grab a copy of this book! You'll be glad you did :) " Andie said.