Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Posted June 15, 2015 by lockhartbecca in Reviews / 5 Comments

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

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I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.



Synopsis from Goodreads:


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:


Mental health is such a fascinating topic to me. Perhaps it’s because I relate to it as I know a few people who are living their lives with anxiety disorders. I myself don’t, and will never fully, be able to understand the way their brains work. I will never understand how something that seems so small to me can make them spin out of control. I try to, but it’s just not possible to fully understand what they go through. So when I see books that are about people dealing with this, I am instantly drawn to them in my quest to understand just what they go through.


This book is about a girl named Sam who suffers from OCD and as a result, anxiety. The author has clearly done her research here and there’s even a wonderful note at the end describing all the research she went to, including extensive help from a girl suffering from OCD herself to ensure that she made this realistic. It was so interesting to me to read about how Sam’s mind would latch onto something and not let go. How it would spiral from one thing to the next to the next, never stopping, its grip on her tight and unrelenting. I could see the similarities in people I have known and it gave me a new level of understanding and empathy.


One of my favorite parts of this book was the relationship between Sam and her therapist, Sue. Sue was just an amazing person. She helped Sam through every tough moment of her life. She made Sam feel comfortable and I loved that she could call Sue no matter what and that Sue was oftentimes the first person she would turn to when she needed help. I loved how Sue described Sam’s brain and told her that there wasn’t anything wrong with her, her brain just works differently from everyone else’s. She’s right. Sam’s brain simply has a different way of thinking. That doesn’t make her crazy, it just makes her unique.


I also really loved the romance. Slow and sweet, I loved the nervous energy from both of them. It was definitely an edge of your seat romance, waiting for that big moment when they would just kiss already. Somehow Tamara Ireland Stone made my stomach flip-flop at just a light touch on the wrist. Perfectly written.


Sam herself was an impressive main character. She’s best friends with all the popular girls in school (think plastics) and she hides who she really is from them in order to fit in. But once she finds her fellow poets, she slowly starts to come out of her shell and act more like herself. She stops wearing the façade that she’s been wearing her whole life. If I only had one word to describe Sam I would say brave. It takes real courage to be honest about her mental health and it’s certainly not easy for her, but the progress she makes throughout the book was beautiful. I loved watching her go from shy wallflower to a girl who spoke up. And I loved that she used writing as a release for her thoughts. I loved the way words were used in this book to heal. Words are truly therapeutic, whether you’re reading or writing them, and I absolutely loved this aspect of the book. If you’re looking for an honest and realistic look at OCD and anxiety, I highly recommend Every Last Word. Tamara Ireland Stone writes honest characters that will capture your heart and teach you a few lessons along the way.


Have you read this one yet? What did you think? Did you love the use of words as a therapeutic process? 

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5 responses to “Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

  1. This is a fantastic review!! The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking, "Yes, this is what I want in a book. Must buy this now, thank you." 🙂 I definitely understand the draw towards books concerning mental illness. I feel so uninformed/unaware of all the different ways a mind can work and how to empathize with others who are unique in that way. It makes me so glad books like this are being published, especially ones where you can tell the author has done his/her absolute best to create a realistic representation. Thanks for this!

  2. My review is scheduled for tomorrows (I wanted to wait to read yours until after I wrote mine). We have a lot of the same thoughts about this book except for that last twist, which I didn't think was necessary and actually thought it was just there for shock/cleverness. But other than that, I really liked the book, I thought it was well done and yes, loved the romance. Also liked the relationship between Sam and her therapist because so many times in books, with a therapist, the therapist is quirky and unconventional, etc. and it just doesn't ring true. Great review! ~Pam

    • Ooh I'll have to go read your review! Yeah, I can see your point about the last twist. It shocked me because I didn't realize that that could be a side effect of OCD/anxiety. But after reading the author's note, she did a lot of research so I guess it can be? Yes! I loved that her therapist was normal and that Sam liked talking to her and relied on her. That's how the relationship should be!

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