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Every Last Word

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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.

358 pages, Hardcover

First published June 16, 2015

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About the author

Tamara Ireland Stone

26 books3,038 followers
TAMARA IRELAND STONE spent nearly two decades in the technology industry before she began writing middle grade and young adult fiction. She feels lucky to say she's had two careers she's loved.

Her New York Times bestseller, EVERY LAST WORD, won the Cybils Young Adult Fiction Award, the Georgia Peach Book Award, and was a YALSA Teens' Top Ten pick; LITTLE DO WE KNOW won the NCIBA Golden Poppy Award for Young Adult Fiction; and her debut novel, TIME BETWEEN US, has been published in over twenty languages. The first book in her middle-grade series, CLICK'D, was a Sunshine State Young Readers Award pick, a Kids' Indie Next pick, a Cybils Award Nominee, and an NCIBA Golden Poppy nominee.

Tamara is a proud nerd, vinyl collector, and movie lover. She burns everything she cooks.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,604 reviews
June 19, 2015
This book is a saccharine sweet fairy tale version of a very real mental illness, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as well as the very serious issue of bullying, without true emotional depth. It's the equivalent of ordering a black coffee at Starbucks, taking a sip, only to find out that you've been given a caramel mocha instead. It is unrealistic, it is a Disney-fied version of real life, complete with a happy ending.

Real life doesn't work that way. Mental illnesses don't work that way. I know very well it doesn't work that way because I've got it.

I have OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder). It's a lesser form of OCD. I don't obsessively count things, I don't get massive panic attacks, I don't get major anxiety attacks, but I know what it feels like to have your own mind turn on you at times. My mind is constantly racing at hyperspeed. I can't relax. It takes me 2 hours to fall asleep every night because I can't be at rest. Like the main character in this book, I have survived on very little sleep for a very, very long time. I'm constantly tired.

When something falls out of pattern in my day. When I don't get a certain machine at the gym. When I can't do this or that at a certain time. I do not get major panic attacks over them, but at the same time, things just feel wrong. Certain things, minor to others, will ruin my day. "Why can't you just use another machine?" It doesn't work like that.

Most often, if people ask, I just laugh it off, because honestly, I don't care. I feel like my OCD does make me a better person, in some ways. I know I work more efficiently than most, I know that my boss loves that part of my mind because it ensures I'm THE BEST EMPLOYEE EVER because I will not let anything slip through the cracks. I know that this part of my personality drives me towards knowledge because that, too, is an obsession. I'm not ashamed, but I still know how the character in this book feels, knowing you're not entirely normal, and hiding it from most people you know so that you won't be judged, because most people can and will judge anyone with a mental disorder.

I know I'm not my mental illness. I think I'm an awesome person. I'm smart, I'm funny, I'm pretty good looking for my age. But at the same time, there's a part of me that just constantly whispers "You're not normal. You'll never be normal." It takes a lot of effort go to through my day sometimes.

I know what OCD is, and for me, this book does not accurately portray it. As I mentioned before, this is a book published by Disney, and it is more for the dreamy Perks of a Wallflower crowd than anyone who truly wants to understand the depths behind this mental illness. This book is far too sweet, far too improbably, far too unrealistic.

The main character, Samantha, has OCD. She is a repetitive thinker. This feeling of obsession does not persist throughout the book, her mental illness only resurfaces occasionally. There is no feeling that she is constantly under the weight of this mental illness the way a real mental illness should be.
When I finally pulled into the driveway that evening, the last digit was resting on a six, so I backed out again and drove around the block a few times until the odometer stopped where it belonged. And now I have to do that every time I park.
Everything in life is perfect, pretty much, understanding mom, fantastic psychiatrist (not all psychiatrists are that awesome, I assure you), and she is a part of the popular "Mean Girls" at school. She hates them, but she fits in perfectly well with them, and she is perfectly able to disguise her OCD despite having been diagnosed with a severe form of it by the age of 10. I assure you, this is not true in real life. Nobody who has OCD can conceal it that well, particularly not a child. It is almost impossible that Samantha can fit in and disguise herself as normal to the most conceited, most judgmental, most observant group of girls on campus, girls who have known her since childhood.

And then there's the artificially sweet and improbable artsy-fartsy little Poetry Corner with whom she falls in when she tries to make some true friends, people who understand her, people who express their emotions through words and poetry and song. A private little club that nobody knows about. Gag me, really. Real life doesn't have this shit.
As I scan the room, taking in the slips of paper scattered around me, I think I catch Caroline and pixie-cut girl look at each other. “What is this place?” I ask again, hearing the amazement in my own voice.
Pixie Cut answers me. “We call it Poet’s Corner.”
Real life doesn't have friends with whom you can constantly click, with whom you immediately reveal your inner self.

This book not only deals with OCD, but with the issue of bullying, and it deals with it in a manner that feels completely false. The main character may not be a bully herself, but she does so out of peer pressure. Her group, the Mean Girls, have constantly taunted and made fun of others whom they deem inferior.
“A-A-A-Andrew…” to the tune of the Chia Pet jingle, and then she starts cracking up.

“How can you not remember Andrew? That kid stuttered so badly he couldn’t even say his name. We used to follow him around singing that song.…You have to remember this!”

Oh, God. I do. It’s all starting to come back to me, and when she sings that horrible song again, I can see Kaitlyn and me in our skirts and ponytails, trailing behind him on the playground while he covered his ears, tears streaming down his face, trying to run away from us. We never let him get far.
Bullying is a very, very serious issue, and this book does not give weight to it. It glosses over the fact that the character was a bully. It never truly delves into the mental process and the depths behind such an act. The main character feels bad about it, she feels a lot of remorse, but there is never any feeling of true emotion or sincerity upon her reflection into it.

There have been a lot of bullying stories in the news. There's so much that goes on in the mind of a person who tortures someone so much. This book should have portrayed the feeling of self-hate, of insecurity, of the darkness in the mind of the person who does the bullying. In my opinion, this book completely failed at it.

Again, this is a Disney-fied book about mental illnesses and bullying. I understand that the author does not have OCD, and she is doing her best to portray a mental illness. One does not have to have a mental disease to write about it, but a book about such serious issues should feel realistic and relatable to the reader, and particularly, one who suffers from it. This book failed to do that, for me.
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews168k followers
June 7, 2015

This was a really nice read and I think it dealt with mental illness in a respectful way, but I did find it to be a bit inconsistent at times. For the most part I enjoyed it and I loved the poetry aspect of the story.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
August 13, 2019
this book is sooo me. i loved it when i first read it a few years ago, and i love it even more now. down to every last word.

as someone with a psychology background, i have to praise TIS for her very real portrayal of OCD. i cant even begin to tell you how often people are misinformed about the disorder or how debilitating common misconceptions of OCD can be. i really admire how the story was inspired by someone close to TIS who has the disorder, because it makes its representation so personal and the storytelling/writing definitely shows it.

im also so enamoured by how this story is a love letter to words. from their healing powers to inspirational strength, words play such a large role in this story and sams management of her OCD. i think many readers, myself included, understand sams connection with words (whether its poetry or song lyrics or anything else) and can see themselves in that aspect of the story.

this is such a touching, motivational, and highly informational read. definitely a recommendable favourite!!

5 stars
Profile Image for Sophia.
270 reviews2,035 followers
June 17, 2015
i cried for nearly the entire last fifty pages and i can't even tell you why. it's not even sad?? this book is just really beautiful and very well done and so important. i need to go wipe my nose.
Profile Image for Kassidy.
338 reviews11k followers
July 13, 2016
A very beautiful and touching story.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
February 19, 2020
Books on mental health hit me in a way no other story does. It’s personal and intimate and I’m seen and understood in a way I want to be seen and understood.
It’s even better when these stories include therapy sessions and showcase the positive impact they can have. A good therapist can do that.

It’s made me want to read more books on mental health and become more of an advocate for it.

This particular story deals with OCD alongside anxiety. I didn’t know much about this book going into it and I preferred it that way. Our main character goes on a journey of combatting her mental health and I particularly enjoy that just because I’m able to see how it helps the main character and what parallels I can draw from their lives into mine.

Highly recommend it if you’re into contemporaries, want to find out more on mental health and what it means to have good people and safe space around you.

Picking up all the books written by Tamara Ireland Stone.


Have been meaning to get to this for the longest of times. And now thanks to Nadhira I am!
Profile Image for Jessica.
260 reviews3,563 followers
April 6, 2016
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

What a beautiful book. . Definitely one of the best contemporary books I've read this year. Sam's story was so moving and my heart was honestly pounding towards the end. This book touches on some really serious topics like depression, anxiety, and mental disorders, but I thought that Tamara Ireland Stone did it beautifully. One of my favorite parts (which was a huge part) was the poetry in this book. This is the type of book that makes YOU want to write.. And it doesn't even have to be good. Just to express yourself and to try.. I feel like many people that have been through high school will relate to what Sam goes through.. The pressures from your peers, and sadly, your "friends". I loved Sam's character and was so, so pleased by her progress just like Sue throughout the story. This book made me laugh, cry, and really inspired me to write more. Thank you Tamara for this beautiful book!
Profile Image for demi. ♡.
206 reviews277 followers
September 16, 2019
❥ 5 / 5 stars

These walls heard
me when no
one else could.

They gave my
words a home,
keep them safe.

Cheered, cried, listened.
Changed my life
for the better.

It wasn’t enough.
But they heard
every last word.

I’ll definitely recommend this book to my friends.
Profile Image for Josu Diamond.
Author 9 books33k followers
February 3, 2016

Tras dos intensos días de lectura, finalmente he terminado de leer Hasta la última palabra. Tamara es una autora que nunca había tocado y que poco me interesaba... hasta ahora. La manera en la que trata temas complicados, como es el caso del trastorno obsesivo-compulsivo en adolescentes, me ha gustado muchísimo, y espero que con esta reseña os convenza a leer esta obra.

La protagonista de la novela, quien padece el trastorno comentado, me ha parecido un personaje más complejo de lo que se muestra durante la trama y hay varias cosas destacables. Por ejemplo, el hecho de que no se nos ponga en situación continuamente. Comenzamos la historia de Sam in media res con vivencias del pasado que recuerda pero con mucho que vivir por delante, y siempre transmitiendo esa sensación, hecho que consigue que la historia no se haga en ningún momento pesada. Se agradece de verdad que la autora no recalque continuamente lo mal que vive la protagonista o la necesidad que tiene de tomar pastillas: se trata como algo normal, como parte de la personalidad de Sam, y gracias a eso es un personaje que conecta de varias formas con el lector.

En cuanto a la historia en sí... Bueno, ha sido predecible. Sin embargo, creo que es también un punto a favor. Porque mientras sabes a lo que se está enfrentando Sam, te vas dando cuenta de los segundos significados que tienen esas situaciones, de cómo la autora juega con ellas y sobre todo, de como pese a ser algo obvio la trama no recae en ello. Hasta la última palabra tiene varios elementos como la amistad o la superación personal que son de lo más importante, y de hecho, diría que la base de la novela. Pero lo más importante de ésta es la lección sobre conocerse a uno mismo que quiere transmitir, y que logra de una manera magistral.

La evolución que sufre el personaje de Sam es increíble, entendible y detallada. En un entorno realista, sin estereotipos y con una trama romántica que parece algo típica pero que se va convirtiendo en una simple excusa para la evolución del personaje principal. Todos los elementos de la novela juegan un papel importante, y creo que es como debería ser: que todo confluya en el protagonista, de algún modo u otro.

De verdad, me ha gustado mucho. No es nada del otro mundo, lo sé, pero quizá por no tratar de ser algo que no es y por ser clásica en cuanto al arco argumental y elementos de la trama, me ha llegado tanto. Es una buena novela.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,092 reviews6,579 followers
September 22, 2017
Special thanks to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for this review copy!
This book was phenomenal. It was one of the best young adult contemporaries that I've read that deals with mental illness. The main character, Sam, has OCD which is an anxiety disorder. I suffer from an anxiety disorder too, so I really wanted to read this and see how I could connect with it and how well Tamara Ireland Stone portrayed it. I have to say, she did this fantastically. You really get a feel for what it's like to go through her mental disorder and I think people who don't suffer from mental illness firsthand will really get to see what it's like and the effects that it can have on a person, their life and the people around them.
I was honestly hooked from the start. It had a plot-line that kept me completely engaged the entire time and the romance was portrayed so realistically and was so swoon-worthy it had me smiling to myself while I was reading. I just think that the romance is so real and fun to read about and it was perfectly paced. The characters were all great! I loved her psychologist and the poetry group and everyone in it so much! I just felt for them all and felt like I was friends with them too by the end! I also loved how poetry was incorporated into the novel. It was done wonderfully and the poems were all so unique and different and lovely.
The only criticism I have for this book is that there is a HUGE absence of Sam's family. They appear a couple of times, but other than that, I don't know anything about them at all! I really wanted them to be fleshed out a lot more because I feel as though they played a huge role in helping Sam through everything (especially at the start and end of the novel, as well as before the events in the novel even happen.)
Other than that, what a beautiful, engaging and inspiring novel. Absolutely adored it!
Profile Image for Nadhira Satria.
432 reviews729 followers
October 26, 2021

it’s such an amazing pure ocd rep. The best part of this book is the fact that her ocd wasn’t cured because of romance but that she learns to accept her ocd and her love interest accepting it too and her journey towards recovery by seeing a psychiatrist!!! (Because mental illness has to be handled by!! A!! Professional!! Not!! A!! Boyfriend!!) it makes me feel like a giant ball of fluff
Bullying takes place in this book too and how Sam used to bully other students. I also feel like I grown along with Sam and through her struggle with her ocd how she grew and is more accepting towards her illness.
Y’all I read this in one sitting. I binged it and honestly I read two 5 stars book in a day and I’m b l e s s e d
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
August 13, 2018
Here is my full, spoiler free review for this book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlekVG... it was absolutely amazing and I hope everyone gives this beautiful story a chance x

I received a free copy of this book from Disney Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,571 reviews33.9k followers
June 2, 2015
Hm. Really interesting look at a teen with OCD. I'm not entirely sure everything the book tried to tackle actually worked--there's a lot going on here--but there is an interesting twist, and the story kept my interest overall.

More thinking required on this one.
Profile Image for Beverly.
1,005 reviews800 followers
February 26, 2016
O.M.G. this book, I loved it, like legit loved it. It starts out odd, but I think that’s just because I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into, but once I got into it I fell in love!

“Everyone’s got something. Some people are just better actors than others.”

Samantha McAlister is one of the most popular girls in school, from the outside looking in her life is perfect. She is pretty, intelligent, and friends with the right people. No one knows she suffers from OCD, which is real a testament to how little she trusts her friends.

It’s the beginning of the school year and Samantha meets a new friend who changes her life and opens up a whole new world for her. She joins a secret group, Poetry Corner. Writing allows her to express herself and her new friends help her realize what’s important.

I loved this book, I mean epically loved it. I related so much to Samantha and you don’t have to be OCD to understand her. I think that just about everyone can relate to how Sam felt. Most everyone struggles with belonging and fear of judgment at some point in their lives. I love the lessons Sam learned and how she grew throughout the story.

I know I am not everyone’s cuppa tea and I am seriously okay with that, but it took me years to be okay with that. I wish I had realized it sooner. I love that Every Last Word helps teach that message.

“Sam: Do you always say exactly what you're thinking?

AJ: I try to. I like to know where I stand with people, and I figure I owe them the same courtesy. I mean, I'm never rude or hurtful about it, but I don't see any reason to be fake. That's a lot of work”

Be kind, be honest and be you and move on. It’s a great message and I adored reading this story! Highly recommend it for everyone!!

I listened to this audiobook and loved the narration!

Teasers created by me with stock images purchased from depositphotos.

June 16, 2015
FINALLLYYYYY on sale!!! Go buy it!!! NOOOW! Click HERE to purchase

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Sometimes a book just calls to you. Sometimes it consumes your every waking thought until you can finally pick it up. Sometimes.....when you get an opportunity to read a book before anyone else you realize just how lucky you are, because you just knew from the moment you saw it that it was going to be special, perfect, just what you've been dying to read. That's exactly how I felt about this book-From the moment I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. There was just something about the blurb that spoke to me on a visceral level, and I knew that if I got it from the publisher, I'd love it. Not often do I like my ARCs...but from the moment I opened this book, it owned my soul.

This is a story about a girl with OCD. A girl who, for all intents and purposes, hasn't told anyone about her condition. The dark thoughts that plague her mind daily make it difficult to function in every day activities that others take for granted. She struggles to maintain the facade of being a 'normal' girl around her popular friends who expect only the best from her, and she can't find peace at night, so she has to take sleeping medications. Her nature is to latch onto something and grip it tight, to search and investigate until all outlets are exhausted and she has enough information to satisfy her hunger for any information concerning what she became obsessed with in the first place.

Then one day she meets a new friend, Caroline, and what she shows her will change her life. But at the head of Poet's Corner (The place Caroline showed her) is a boy who doesn't like her much, but she can't seem to figure out why. She's told she isn't allowed to join the secret club, that she isn't welcome. But Samantha knows in her heart that this club is just what she needs-she knows that it's just the outlet her OCD and inner turmoils need and that it could possibly change the way she thinks every day-it might be the thing that helps her focus her thoughts and dilute the obsession she feels at every waking moment. So, she sets out to prove herself not only to the group, but to the boy who has shunned her without a backward glance. Why does he look at her like he can't stand to be near her...and why does it bother her so much?

This book touched me so deeply. It isn't simply that Samantha has OCD and struggles internally, it's how she struggles. It's the way it crushes her spirit again and again, yet she continues to fight and claw and strive to be the person she wants to be. She broke down so many times, yet she let no one see how broken she was. I loved that. I loved how strong her character was and how she never pitied herself...well, not a ton, anyway.

But what I loved most?? I'll just come out and say it: AJ. I loved loved loved AJ. He was sweet, kind, thoughtful, and he induced so many butterflies that I was choking on them. I think there's something to be said for a subtle, YA romance. Every look, every touch, every moment means something...it's not fleeting and the romance doesn't rely on sex or physical contact. We get to build a deep, meaningful relationship through words and crucial experiences. And when they finally do touch, kiss, or get physical?? It's explosive.

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Without being able to use quotes I feel a tad naked, but I think I said everything that needed to be said without them. I loved reading this story so much, and I was so so sad when it started to come to an end. AJ and Samantha were two amazing characters that I became viscerally attached to and I never wanted their story to end. It was beautiful, heartfelt, and I never once felt the writing was forced when it came to her OCD. It was as natural as breathing and the author's words flowed so seamlessly that it became difficult to put the book down and separate myself from this amazing story. I am so appreciative I got this ARC, but I cannot wait to read the final work-I am pre-ordering the hardback as soon as I finish this review. I will definitely be looking at other works from this author and I will be re-reading this story over and over again. Every Last Word.

*ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

**I will be adding quotes once the book is released**

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And wouldn't ya know it, I really wanted this one XD
Profile Image for Christy.
3,809 reviews32.4k followers
February 18, 2016
4 stars!

 photo 023cd4b8-a0aa-40c8-badd-495d15cfbd95_zpstds94l30.jpg

4 stars for my 4th YA book of the year!

Every Last Word is a story about a teenage girl who is dealing with OCD. Samantha McAllister appears to be perfect on the outside, but inside she's a mess. She constantly worries about her friends finding out about her condition and the fact that she sees a psychiatrist. When Sam meets Caroline and gets introduced to the kids in Poet's Corner, everything changes for her. She finds herself coming out of her shell and embracing who she is.

Samantha was a likable character. I felt for her. I love how she dealt with all of her struggles and overcame her issues. Sam learns not only to accept herself but to stand up for herself and have friends that accept who she is. She was strong on her own, but I love her relationship with AJ as well. AJ really deep down cares for Sam and is there for her no matter what he finds out about her. They were a great couple.

One other thing I enjoyed about this book is that there was a twist I didn't see coming. I love when that happens! I found this story to be moving and beautiful. I love the poetry and the writing style. I listened to the audio version and the narration was average- not great or bad.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,723 reviews1,278 followers
June 3, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Disney Book Group and NetGalley.)

“My friends can’t know about my OCD or the debilitating, uncontrollable thoughts, because my friends are normal. And perfect. They pride themselves on normalcy and perfection, and they can’t ever find out how far I am from those two things.”

This was a YA story about a girl with OCD.

I felt quite sorry for Sam in this story, her friends obviously made her feel quite awkward at times, and it wasn’t nice how they refused to even call her ‘Sam’ instead of ‘Samantha’. It was bad enough that she had to deal with the OCD, without having to constantly worry what her friends would think if they found out about it.

“When I finally pulled into the driveway that evening, the last digit was resting on a six, so I backed out again and drove around the block a few times until the odometer stopped where it belonged. And now I have to do that every time I park.”

The storyline in this was about Sam finding new friends and learning to live with her OCD. It was nice that she was finally able to be herself a bit more, and had friends that she felt she could rely on.

“You know what you need?” I don’t answer her, and after a long pause she says, “Nicer friends.”

There was some romance, and Sam and AJ made a cute couple, even if Sam was worried what would happen when AJ found out about her OCD.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you for weeks, long before that day at my house, and right now I really want to kiss you again.”

The ending to this was fairly good, and I liked the twist that we got towards the end of the book.
Overall; I did enjoy this book, but the slow pace put me off a bit.

6.5 out of 10.
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,503 followers
July 6, 2015
3.5 Stars!!

I don’t know what I expected reading this book, but I expected something a little different. It wasn’t the best book I’ve read with this premise, but it wasn’t the worst either. Honestly I expected something more emotional and/or more moving. Needless to say the author failed (a little) to keep me truly invested in the story. It was a good story, like my rating says, but it could have been much better if it would have been longer.

“Every Last Word” is the story of Samantha ‘Sam’, a girl who’s a junior in high school. While she looks and apparently acts like all the other popular girls in her junior class, Samantha is nothing like them. She’s ‘different’, she knows it and all her life tried to hide it, to hide‘the truth’ about herself. Samantha has Purely-Obsessional OCD and all her life lied by omission to anyone who came across. She can’t turn off her thoughts and she can’t sleep without being drugged into it. She also sees a therapist. Her mind never stops working and what scares her the most is the fact that sometimes her thoughts are dark and disturbing. Samantha wants to belong, to be accepted, to be needed and wanted, she wants to be ‘normal’. She struggles every day to appear ‘normal’ in front of ‘the Eights’, her ‘friends’ and in front of everyone else.

Samantha becomes Sam when she meets a girl, Caroline, girl who will change her life forever. She finds out what Poet’s Corner is, she meets a boy who will make her a better human being and she will find who she truly is and what she truly wants to do with her life.

I don’t think I’ve read any book about a character with this mental illness –OCD, so I can’t say much about this aspect of the story, if it’s done well or not, compared with other books. But what I can say is that it was done in a respectful way. However, I expected to be more emotional invested since it’s about a mental illness. Maybe because I felt some aspects of the story were a little rushed and also because the story felt too short.

Samantha was a likeable character and I have to say I felt for her and her struggles felt real for the most part. I’m sure some readers will relate with her, even if she suffers from OCD, because let’s face it, many of us, if not all of us want to belong, to be ‘normal’ or ‘perfect’ or to be accepted. Even if she struggles with her mental illness, she is a strong heroine, determined to have a future like a ‘normal’ person, to win a scholarship, to go to college, to have something meaningful with a boy. Her character growth is well done and I liked very much the new Samantha, – Sam.

The cast of supporting character are fantastic, engaging and endearing. (I’m talking about Sam’s new friends) I loved Caroline. A lot! She was such a great friend. She’s sweet and funny, supportive, considerate and I loved how good she was for Sam. I loved their interactions and how much Sam learns from her new friend. And AJ...*swoon*. That’s right...he made me swoon. He was amazing. There was a moment when I wondered if he truly is as amazing as he seemed from the beginning. I’m glad he turn out to be what I hoped. He was sweet, considerate and so thoughtful. He was perfect for Sam and he was what she really needed. As for Sam’s friends ‘the Eights'...what can I say?! They were horrible.

There’s a very interesting twist in the story I never see it coming. Wow! Needless to say from that moment I had to know more.

An important aspect in this story is bullying. This aspect is not very developed, because this book it’s not about that, but the author reminds us how this kind of behavior can change someone.

Overall – an engaging read, with a likeable heroine, interesting storyline and great writing.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,185 followers
March 3, 2016
4 stars!

“If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.”

Every Last Word is the story of Sam, a teenage girl with a debilitating case of OCD. Not the kind like you and I think, where it's like people keeping things nice and neat, but one that messes with her sense of reality. One of the popular girls at school, she is forever in fear of her group of friends finding out her secret and ridiculing her for it.

One day she discovers a new group of people at school she never really noticed before. With some encouragement from a new friend, Sam makes an effort to join this new group who loves poetry and expression. But her past and her friends make it difficult for this new group of people to trust her, and she must prove her worth to them.

“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.”

I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. This is an author I've always been meaning to read, she has another series that looks good but I never got around to it. I love reading stories where the main character becomes disillusioned with their current life style and looks to other ways of spending their time. It's one of the better ways of promoting character development in a story (and we all know I must have my character development!) so I really enjoyed this book.

I liked the romance aspect because I wasn't really expecting it. AJ was a little bit too good to be true and I thought he forgave Sam for her past a little bit too quickly, but ultimately it worked for the book as a whole.

I did guess the "surprise" fairly early on, but I loved that part of the story. It's amazing what the human mind can do and a great added twist to the plot. I also liked the use of words and how they helped Sam get through rough spots. Her OCD was based on words and thoughts, and by joining the poetry group she learned a way to manage and control them in a healthy way.

“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.”

I will say, if I tried to write poetry, this would be me:

Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,044 followers
February 8, 2018
4.5 stars

Such an unexpected powerful and moving read. I’m still forcing these foreign lumps in my throat back in as I’m writing this review. I have read countless books on mental illness but I find this book very exceptional because of the constructive and encouraging way the author portrayed a teenage girl with OCD. I appreciate so much the relationship between Sam and her psychiatrist, even involving Sam’s mom in actually contributing with her therapy at home. I love that their talk therapy seems genuinely comforting and therapeutic.

“I’m not making you do anything. Whether or not you tell him is entirely up to you. I’m merely reminding you to embrace who you are and surround yourself with people who do the same.”

The story becomes even more interesting when Sam finds a great avenue to refocus her overactive brain and imagination and her anxiety over her relationship with her popular friends through Poetry Corner where she meets these awesome people and adorably, her love interest, AJ. (Love the choice of name). *winks*

I was enjoying the story so much at this point but then the turning point suddenly strikes out of nowhere leaving me completely stunned because I so, totally, completely did not see that coming. Goosebumps were everywhere as I started reconciling the earlier events of the story to the shocking revelation near the end. It was heartbreaking and groundbreaking at the same time and I love how Sue the therapist connects the dots to make the most logical explanation as to what Sam was experiencing.

I understand that somewhere along the way, the plot became a bit too unrealistic and failed quite a bit to address certain serious issues in the novel, but the important positive messages, wonderful, relatable, witty writing, its unexpected plot twists and surprises and the little beautiful pieces of poetry scattered throughout the novel made up of for the book's few shortcomings. Let me share one of my favorite poems:

“These walls heard
me when no
one else could.

They gave my
words a home,
kept them safe.

Cheered, cried, listened
Changed my life
for the better.

It wasn’t enough,
But they heard
every last word.”
Profile Image for grace.
130 reviews1,606 followers
November 12, 2015
4.5!! This was incredible and so unexpected. Go read this!!
Profile Image for May.
Author 10 books8,606 followers
February 3, 2016

Hasta la última palabra es la nueva novela de Tamara Ireland Stone, una autora que me cautivó con El tiempo entre nosotros y su secuela Una y otra vez. Esta vez viene con una novela juvenil contemporánea que tiene como protagonista a una joven que tiene un TOC (transtorno obsesivo compulsivo).
Ya a simple vista Hasta la última palabra me parecía una novela diferente. Sin duda, el tener a una protagonista que padece un TOC la hace diferente. Ya no porque trate una enfermedad mental como hacen tantas otras novelas, sino porque es algo más en la trama y tenemos la vida de una joven que lidia día a día con su transtorno.
Lo que más me ha gustado de la novela, sin duda alguna, es la protagonista, Sam. Samantha está muy bien construida, es un personaje redondo, que cuenta con varios pilares que la sostienen. Por un lado su transtorno obsesivo compulsivo que se refleja muy bien en la novela, ya que no es Sam la que nos cuenta cómo se vive ese transtorno sino que se nos muestra en su día a día. Por otro lado su relación con Caroline que va floreciendo poco a poco a lo largo de la obra. Sam es un personaje que nos sorprende y tiene ciertas actitudes que lxs lectorxs no esperan de ella. Y además tiene una evolución constante, empieza siendo de una manera y acaba siendo totalmente diferente. Es una evolución natural, a la que nos adaptamos conforme ella misma se adapta.
La historia de la novela es simple y sencilla. Es una más, entre tantas. No es nada del otro mundo ni innova dentro de la literatura juvenil. Pero está bien construidas y la autora va dejando pistas a lo largo de la misma para que al final todas las piezas encajen tras el "gran" giro. Es una historia que nos acerca a los TOCs, que la gran mayoría desconocemos. La autora lo hace muy bien, basándose en una persona conocida.
Además las relaciones entre los personajes van creciendo y evolucionando poco a poco y me ha gustado mucho porque no hay nada que sea instantáneo ni aleatorio, sino que sabemos qué va a pasar y vemos cómo pasa con naturalidad.
La novela está muy en la línea de la autora, su estilo me gusta muchísimo y la manera en la que construye a sus personajes es siempre la misma. Además tiene muy buenas descripciones y mucha calidad literaria.
Es también bastante predecible, de hecho es lo que menos me ha gustado, porque desde el principio sabía cuál iba a ser el giro final. Aún así ese giro final no se da tan al final como esperaba sino que la historia continúa y eso lo ha mejorado bastante.
Hasta la última palabra es una novela que he disfrutado bastante, que me ha gustado porque me ha acercado a una realidad que no conocía -la que viven las personas que parecen TOCs- y que se lee con facilidad. Una novela que me ha gustado, que me alegro de haber leído y que recomiendo a todas las personas que disfruten de la literatura juvenil contemporánea.
Profile Image for Charley Cook.
137 reviews709 followers
June 29, 2015
I think everyone who thinks it's okay to throw about the term 'OCD' when they talk about how they like a clean bedroom should read this book. YA fiction based around the reality of mental illness at its finest.
See my full video review here: https://youtu.be/36YPI1tqKGU
589 reviews1,031 followers
June 24, 2015
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

3.5 stars

Every Last Word is one of those books that had me wanting to smash it into a pulp from page 1, but had me sniffling a bit during the last few chapters.

This story follows Sam, a girl dealing who was diagnosed with Purely Obsessional OCD (aka Pure-O) at the age of 11. While she may look perfectly fine on the outside, each day she is battling with the uncontrollable thoughts that consume her.

I wasn't quite sure I picked up the same book as everyone else when I was a few chapters into the novel. Why? Because most of my friends gave this book 4 or 5 stars and there was I, reading along thinking that this was one of the worst books I've ever read on mental illnesses. And the main reason of that was because I HATE Sam (the main character)'s so called friends. They're the 'popular' and 'I-think-I'm-prettier-than-all-of-you' girls at school and every girl hates them and every guy loves them. Yeah, that kinda group. Hellooo, high school social hierarchy. Anyway, Sam's friends pissed me off. Majorly. So much that I was ready to just give up on the book altogether. Within their little posse, the 'main girl', Alexis (of course that's her name <.<), has basically created her own social ladder amongst the 4 other girls she calls her best friends.
"Not Hailey. You." [Alexis] pokes my collarbone. And now I know precisely where I reside on her social ladder: Second rung from the bottom. Hailey occupies the last one, and as soon as she learns I'm invited to Alexis's birthday and she's not, she'll know it too.

I actually find it comical how stupidly shallow their friendship is. It's so fake and well, childish. 
"You have no idea how sad I've been, Samantha. I felt horrible not asking you. Even though our moms weren't friends in preschool, you and I were best friends in kindergarten!"

In short, Alexis had to choose 2 of her 4 friends to go to the spa with because her mom only got 3 reservations, so Alexis decides to choose the two girls she was best friends with first. And, since all of them met each other at the same time, Alexis chooses the two girls whose mums were friends with first instead. WHAT. THE. FUCK. If I only got three reservations to the spa and had more than that many close friends, I'd ditch the spa and go someplace else because friends > going to some fancy pants spa.

Surprisingly enough, this book did a 180 spin soon later and progressively got better. Sure, Sam still had these hella annoying and fake friends, but I started to get over that because we see less of them the more involved Sam becomes with her new friends. I particularly love Caroline, who is just such a supportive friend and funky girl that wears the best t-shirts. She also suffers from depression, though I personally would have liked to look into that a little more (but I totally get why the author did not). 

In terms of the romance, I am really torn about it. AJ is really weary about Sam during the first half of this book because back in 4th grade, she and her 'friends' bullied AJ so bad that he feared his own name and had speech problems. If you know me, you know I love, love, LOVE the hate to love romance trope when executed correctly and well, this one just didn't give me the feels I was told I was gonna get. While I can see how AJ and Sam's relationship works, I just don't ship it hard.

I think Every Last Word is a very important novel to read. Sure, it's not too promising starting off, but by the end of the book, I can definitely say I knew a lot more about OCD than I started off with. It opened my eyes to see the whole spectrum of OCD - there isn't just one type and there are subcategories. I definitely recommend to read the acknowledgements for this book. I got a little teary just from that, and I love how much effort and dedication Stone took to make this story as genuine as possible. And she did a pretty damn good job, in the end.

~Thank you Disney Hyperion for the review copy!~

Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone (on hiatus).
1,501 reviews201 followers
March 15, 2022
4.5 Stars

CW: Teenager living with OCD,

This book felt really precious and quite important. The writing was so engaging and so authentic that I honestly felt like I knew Sam/Samantha. Her pain felt raw and real and I desperately wanted her to grow in confidence and find her voice. I truly hope that there is a 'Poet's Corner' out there for everyone who needs a place to be themselves. It's such a powerful thing to speak your truth.

E iti noa ana nā te aroha
A small thing given with love
Profile Image for Andie .
261 reviews373 followers
April 2, 2016
Just wow!! I love this book to pieces! Added to my top reads of 2015. I found so much of myself in Sam and I was sad when her story ended too soon. Everyone needs to grab a copy of this book! You'll be glad you did :)
Profile Image for jesslyn.
310 reviews235 followers
September 2, 2020
If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Here’s the thing: I love this book to bits.

When I turn the very last page of the book I was left wondering why it took me so long to read this book (it was on my TBR shelf since FOREVER) and now I’m just craving for a poet’s corner. I want this thing to happen to my school.

This book is a book that stays with you and it left you thinking about stuff and inspires you. Or at least, that was how I felt. While other books have changed my perspective of the world and changed how I perceive my life in general, no other book have ever come close to exactly describing the jumbled mess in my mind.

Sam had purely obsessional OCD but despite what she looked like on the outside: which is a member of the popular girl clique, nobody really knew about her condition. Everything changed in the beginning of her junior year when she met Caroline and she introduced her to a secret poetry club that might or might not change her life.

Okay the synopsis is kind of cheesy but don’t be fooled; this book is so so good.

First of all, I don’t have OCD; my mind just behaves in an erratic way and it was kind of weird sometimes. All of Sam’s struggles with obsessive thoughts even the bad poetry (funny I had this notebook filled with cringey poetry since I was fifteen); I could relate to them all. Her thoughts are like my thoughts and it was easy to pretend like she was well... me. It’s a lot to comb at but this is no doubt Tamara Ireland Stone’s best work I’ve ever read yet.

I’ve never read a book more relatable it’s like we exist in the same frequency or something and by the time I reach the last sentence, my heart was filled by this warmth. Not because I was fangirling but because it was so nice to be understood. Now this is getting cheesy and I know you don’t care but today is my birthday and I wasn’t in a good place or mood yesterday and somehow finishing this book helped me cope with it. It’s like the universe is sending me a birthday gift and I need to put this in my favorites shelf oh my God.

I don’t know what to say about the purely obsessional OCD that became the center of this book because obviously it’s not my place to say if it was portrayed in a good way. Obviously I think it captured the readers rather perfectly; drawing our attentions and making us feel for the characters, but it’s not my place to say if it was portrayed correctly. I’ll let others be the judge of that.

So here’s to obsessive thoughts and saying goodbye to toxic friends. Here’s to bad poetry, finding the magic in small things, and all the things in between.
Profile Image for Maureen.
507 reviews4,201 followers
October 8, 2017
3.5/5 Stars

This was a really great book! I can’t totally speak for the mental illness representation (and I looked for a few reviews but didn’t find much), but it seemed very respectful and well done to me. It didn’t trivialize the issue, the main character had a very supportive family, and had a great therapist she visited regularly. All of those things are usual seen in a negative light so it was great to see them positively here.
The story was entertaining except for one *spoilery* aspect that would have been much better with more mystery. I prefer subtext and subtly to being hit over the head with foreshadowing to the point that things are spelled out for you.
Overall the story was great and portrayed mental illness well, but was missing subtext and a deeper heart. I would still recommend it, though!
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