Release Date: June 16, 2015
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.
**Thank you to Disney Hyperion for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!**
Every Last Word follows a girl named Sam, who is part of the popular crowd. These girls are rude to others and aren't very welcoming to outsiders. Sam is best friends with them, but she knows she doesn't fit in with them. She also has OCD, and she hasn't even told them. She's been keeping it a secret from them for years.
She struggles to feel normal and accepted because she is always so scared of what her friends think of her, which is why when a new friend named Caroline shows her this group called Poet's Corner, she instantly feels like everything could be okay again. She has a new close friend and she even begins to fall for a guy named AJ who initially hated her. Things are going good for once in her life, and things couldn't have been better.
I felt so bad for Sam a lot of the time. Nobody should have to worry about what others think of them, especially when it comes to best friends. Sam was constantly scared to be without her friends even though they were ruthless and horribly mean to others, just because she didn't want to be alone. She didn't know how to live without them, which was quite saddening. That's why I was so proud of her when she met Caroline and had tons of new friends. Sam was beginning to branch out and experience things for herself without the guidance of The Eights.
I absolutely adored AJ. I felt so bad for everything that had happened to him in the past, and honestly I was surprised when he decided to let it all go because he saw how much Sam had changed. That was very big of him, which was impressive. AJ was also just so sweet and kind all of the time, as he was so welcoming towards Sam. She definitely needed someone like him in her life. I also really liked Caroline. She instantly took Sam under her wing and showed her that she can be herself because there are more accepting people in the world than The Eights.
The Poet's Corner was just the coolest idea ever. If my high school had a club like that, I'd definitely join. I love writing though I am probably not the best at poetry (trust me, I've tried). Anyways, there was a lot of poetry strewn throughout this book which was just brilliant. I loved how one character always wrote her poems to read on fast food wrappers and then how after they read their poems to the group they were handed a glue stick so that they could paste their poetry on the wall. It was just such an artsy group of people that welcomed anyone and I loved it so much. The Poet's Corner was a place to be free and not judged. Everyone could be themselves without the constant pressures of high school hierarchy getting in the way.
This book was completely bittersweet towards the end and I was so surprised by the ending plot twist that I had to go back and reread this one section a few times just to make sure I was understanding what was going on correctly. It was a complete mind-bend! I'd definitely suggest giving this one a read if you have the chance. Beautifully written and extremely heart-warming at times, Every last Word is a book you won't regret reading.