Friday, April 3, 2015

Book Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Have you every wondered what your friends really thought of you?  Do you hide parts of yourself around others because you’re afraid of how those parts that could their opinions?  If so, you’ll understand the world of Samantha (Sam)(insert last name) in Every Last Word.  One probable difference though:  Sam has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and only her family and psychiatrist know.  She has become an expert at acting ‘normal’ with her friends.  She has constructed manageable routine of swimming, gossiping, saving deep conversations for her weekly meeting her psychiatrist, and knowing how to hide when she has panic attacks.  It is not an idea way to spend high school days but it works.  This all changes when she meets Caroline.  Caroline introduces her to Poet’s Corner; an underground poetry room hidden behind the school’s janitor’s closet.  What Sam finds here inspires dramatic change and Every Last Word follows her on her new journey to examine what ‘normal’ means.

This is a novel that stays with you after reading.  I have never read a book where a character, much less the protagonist, has OCD.  Stone has heavily researched OCD and this makes Sam, and her struggle’s, feel authentic.   There were plot twists that I didn’t see coming; I won’t spoil them but will say they enhance the novel.  I also cannot speak highly enough about the use of poetry in this novel.  Stone has included original poetry that will make you LAUGH, CRY, and want to try your hand at writing a few poems.  It greatly benefited the book and I found myself going back to re-read many of the poems.

Sam is one of the best characters I have read in YA lately.  Her internal dialogue is honest, thoughtful and endearing.  Spending over 300 pages inside her head leaves you wanting more…and that is a GREAT feeling to have after finishing a book.

This book is going to be part of my classroom library; I can’t wait to have students read this book and have meaningful discussions about the events and themes of this book.  I STRONGLY recommend this Every Last Word to people looking for a strongly crafted story with engaging characters that will keep you thinking long after you’ve finished the last page.

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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