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.
“Everyone’s got something. Some people are just better actors than others.”Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Every last word wasn’t my usual style of reading so I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I love doing random research and I love psychology so for a while before reading this book, I’d been studying about mental illnesses and thought this book might be interesting so I decided to try it out and I absolutely loved it.
“I have a tendency to overthink things, especially when it comes to my friends, and I don’t know…I take things too personally. I mean, it isn’t always them . Sometimes it’s me. I just don’t always know when it’s them and when it’s me, you know?”Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
I feel like I could really relate to Sam. We all have secrets and things that we want to hide from people, especially our closest friends from fear of being judged. Almost every book/movie/show nowadays which takes place in a high school has the set of girls who’d be considered as the popular group and everyone wants the group to like them. Sam is no different and she fears being judged by her closest friends since childhood and so she chooses not to tell them about her OCD because all she wants to be is “normal”. The way her friends are portrayed, it is obvious that she’d be judged if they knew about her OCD.
“You look around at the people in your life, one by one, choosing to hold on to the ones who make you stronger and better, and letting go of the ones who don’t.”Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Another thing I absolutely loved was Sam’s new friends at Poet’s Corner. Every person there was so different and yet their shared love for poetry and writing brought them together and made them a family. Despite their differences, something they all had in common was that they were amazing people. They supported each other no matter what, they never judged one another and always motivated each other, too. They accepted each other as they were.
“I didn’t go there looking for you. I went looking for me.” My voice is soft, low, and shaky. “But now, here you are, and somehow, in finding you, I think I’ve found myself.”Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Poet’s Corner was their special place, a place to get away and escape from the life outside those doors but it was also a place where they all discovered who they truly were. As much as I love writing and I’ve tried my hand at poetry, I’ve never been good at it but this book made me wish so bad that I had my own Poet’s Corner and my own group of friends exactly like they were.
“I’m going to show you something that will change your whole life.”Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
This book seemed especially important to me and made me wish books like it were more popular because I could really feel what she was feeling since the book was in her point of view and I realized what it must be like for people with mental illnesses and wanting to be ordinary, “normal” and just like everybody else. It gave us an insight into what their lives must really be like. Sam had a wonderful therapist, Sue, who helped her deal with her OCD and was always more of a friend for her and always there for her, I loved Sue’s character so much. As for Sam’s parents, they knew exactly what to do and how to handle situations when Sam’s OCD gets out of control. Sam wishes she was normal, that she didn’t have obsessive thoughts and didn’t need a therapist either, no matter how much she appreciates Sue, because “normal” people don’t have therapists. Despite all of that, because of everything she goes through, by the end of the book she realizes that despite everything that goes on in her head, she’s lucky to have the amount of normal that she does have.
“Mistakes. Trial and error. Same thing. Mistakes are how we learned to walk and run and that hot things burn when you touch them. You’ve made mistakes all your life and you’re going to keep making them.”Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
I think the book was really realistic too because I think we all have dark thoughts that we try to fend off in life, Sam’s dark thoughts just happen to be a medical condition and a little more than ours. I loved that the book tried to tell people how we define our own “normal”. There shouldn’t be a standard for it because at the end of the day, Samantha was a little bit different than us but still normal and just like us. The Poetry in the book was something I really and truly loved. Every poem was unique, there was the occasional sarcastic and funny poems, usually the ones that Sydney wrote on food wrappers, there were the things that AJ wrote and performed with his guitar and mostly they were all beautiful and unique and so…them.
“Shy, insecure, afraid to speak up? “Act as if,” they say. Act as if you’re not. Stand tall when you walk. Project your voice when you talk. Raise your hand in class. Act as if. Speak your mind. Cut your hair. Be the part. Look the part. You can do this. Just act as if. If you really knew me, If you could see inside, You’d find shy and insecure and afraid. Acting as if. Ironic, isn’t it? The only time I’m not Acting “as if”? When I’m on a stage.”Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
I’d recommend this book to everyone and say this is definitely the type of book to add to one of those “Read these before you die” lists. This is especially a must-read if you love Contemporary, because it doesn’t get any better than this.
My rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️