Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ages 12 and up
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 the 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.
Praise for Time Between Us
"A beautifully written, unique love story."
-Melissa Marr, New York Times best-selling author of The Wicked Lovely series
"A compelling story of love, fate, and consequences with plenty of sigh-worthy moments, this novel is the perfect choice for readers who want a romance that leaves them with something to think about when it's over."
-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A warm, time-bending romance [that] will have readers rooting for the couple that keeps daring fate."
-Publishers Weekly
"The story will hold readers with its twists and turns, present and future; its love, sadness, and anger; and especially, its surprising secrets."
-Booklist
"Romantic and passionate, Stone's debut novel is swoon-worthy...will resonate with readers who enjoy their romance mixed with adventure."
-School Library Journal
"Time Between Us is the very best kind of love story --heart-pounding, intense, and unputdownable!"
-Elizabeth Scott, author of Bloom and Perfect You

MY TAKE:
There were two things that intrigued me about this book: Sam's OCD and Poet's Corner.

In Every Last Word, Sam is a teenager who is dealing not only with her OCD, but with her toxic group of friends who are fun to be with, but can be cruel to each other. One day, she meets Caroline, who promises her a life-changing experience, and she ends up at Poet's Corner. Her life really does change, but how long can she keep up her double life.

I wasn't disappointed with the things I looked forward to reading about the most in this book. The descriptions of Sam's struggle with OCD was quite realistic,. Not every person with OCD has the same or similar compulsion or obsession, of course, so for those who only know of OCD from what they see in pop culture may feel that this wasn't authentic enough.

I liked Poet's corner and the idea of a group of kids writing poetry and sharing their poems with like-minded people. It would have been fun to have something like this in my school when I was in high school or college.

The poems were mostly just meh or okay for me. I did like Sydney's food poems, though, as well as Chelsea's poem "Over You".

As a coming-of-age and OCD-recovery story, I liked this one. I didn't adore it, though, and I think it was because I figured out the major plot twist early, and it made the rest of the book take on a weird light for me. Others would probably like the plot twist, but I don't know how I feel about it, because while I thought it was clever, it was strange for me at the same time.

Overall, I think it's a book that I would have loved when I was in high school and college, during the peak of my poetry-writing phase. Now that I'm past that phase, though, it was just a little above okay for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a realistic portrayal of OCD.
  2. The Poet's Corner is an interesting idea worth copying.
  3. Caroline's story is touching.

THE BAD:

  1. The major plot twist may not work for everyone. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You are being bullied.
  2. You have OCD or anxiety attacks.
  3. You love writing poetry. 

RATING:
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