YA Book Review

YA Book Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

These walls heard
me when no
one else could.
They gave my
words a home,
kept them safe.
Cheered, cried, listened.
Changed my life
for the better.
It wasn’t enough.
But they heard
Every last word.

every-last-word-stone-308x470

From the publisher:

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.”

My Review:

I usually never read Young Adult fiction unless it is from certain authors, and certainly don’t finish with the feeling I had after reading this book.

Have you ever read a book that was so good that you wanted to read it all over again right after you finished it? Where you have feelings of excitement, nostalgia, sadness all at once? Where you flip through it reading certain parts just so you can feel that same way you felt while reading it?

That is exactly how I am feeling right now.

I have been interested in mental illnesses recently and wanted to find a book that approaches them in a way where one can relate to the character and learn about what goes on inside of their mind – this book did exactly that.

Just like Sam, I too have problems with anxiety and after getting a few pages into the book I was like, woah! I have actually found a character that I can almost fully relate to. Though I don’t have extreme problems with OCD, I could fully relate to her anxiety and panic attacks. It made me feel better finding a character that had true, human flaws unlike most perfect main heroines who have only dealt with a broken heart.

So many people take mental illnesses very lightly thinking that they can be easily dealt with. They aren’t as easy to overcome as people think – this book proves exactly that!

In Every Last Word, Sam wants to be a normal girl but has trouble with it because her OCD gets in the way. However, she has been capable of hiding it for many years so nobody outside of her family knows about it. This relates to another thing that I found was awesome about this book; hardly anyone knows about Sam’s OCD – her group of best friends don’t even detect it. It’s so easy for us to judge people without knowing what they are going through – especially if it’s in their head and they can hide it well – Sam is proof that even though they appear to be put together, they could be going through some of the worst things imaginable.

Lastly, I adored The Poet’s Corner. The writing society that Sam joins, the characters, the poems. I loved the poems!!! They were so perfect! I had teared up while reading some of them. I NEVER TEAR UP!

Three things I wasn’t fond of:

1. Her group of friends — I know they weren’t supposed to be likable in the first place, but I wanted to bash their heads together. So much DRAMA!! I was also aware that Sam being friends with them was for the purpose of her having the popular, perfect, put-together image to show that not everyone is as perfect and put-together as they seem.

2. The romance — I love romantic stories, don’t get me wrong, but honestly? This girl is sixteen years old. She does not need to be so romantically involved. There is way too much romance, kissing, and make-out sessions for a teenage girl – especially one that young. I think that books should set an example for the generation, not encourage that kind of behavior.

3. The constant swearing — I find it unnecessary and trashy when books have to throw in swearing all the time. It drives me nuts when it is constantly appearing on the page.

It seems like in almost every Young Adult book, these three things need to be involved. Not every teenager loves drama, swear this much, nor do they go off and lose their virginity at so young an age. That’s my ten cents – sorry for the rant.

Back to the rest of the review —

Besides those three things, this book was awesome, I can’t get over it.

It wasn’t even that sad but I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep.

Spiritual Content:

None from what I remember, if there was any it was very minimal.

sexual content:

This book contained quite a bit of romance and the usual things you would expect – thinking about one’s love interest, talking about them, wanting to kiss them, holding hands, actually kissing them… a lot.

There were times where it got to the extreme and I just skipped over those parts.

There is a sex scene which I also skipped over because I find them completely unnecessary to put in a book – especially for young readers.

Violent content:

*SPOILER*

Samantha’s OCD runs her life. Her mind runs away and thinks about things that she feels absolutely ashamed about afterwards. In one scene, she thinks about using scissors to cut up a bunch of papers or ribbons or roses or something but then her mind gets carried away to the point where she thinks about cutting a girls hair and then… well, it gets a little extreme. However, she stops herself right away, has a long crying fit, and feels ashamed. One has to understand that this is a book about a mental illness and it’s part of how the brain works. When reading it in context, it’s not as bad as I drew it out.

*END OF SPOILER*

I believe there is a mention of self-harm?

A story about a girl who was depressed and committed suicide. *Not detailed*

crude or profane language:

Oh guacamole, is there profane language.

Many mentions of: a–, sh–, bi—, da–, f—

God’s name is used in vain.

Many insults that I can’t remember but can’t get any worse than what I mentioned above.

drug or alcohol content:

None that I remember. I am certain that none of the recurring characters drink or do drugs.

Rating:

★ ★ ★ ★

Though I don’t condone the swearing or the sexual content, this book was so good! I love that it took rough subjects like: mental illnesses, suicide, self-love and approached them well. I would definitely read it again.

Exclusive Video:

This is an adorable song that is sung during the book, if you want to listen to it.

 Find Every Last Word on:

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Connect with Tamara Ireland Stone:

Tamara’s Website

Tamara’s Facebook Page

Tamara’s Goodreads

Other Books by Tamara Ireland Stone:

Time Between Us series:

Time Between Us

Time After Time

*Reviewer’s copy. All opinions are my own. Thank you Hyperion and Netgalley for the privilege to read this book.*

*Photo borrowed from Goodreads*

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