Book Review on Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Basics: This book is a young adult novel for ages 12-17. It’s lengthy, with approximately 400 pages. Topics include mental health, OCD, finding yourself, and coming of age.
Every Last Word features protagonist Samantha McAllister, dealing with her OCD and having to keep it from her three friends who were considered the “popular” group when she meets a girl, Caroline, who understands what she deals with because she too goes to therapy for her depression. Caroline introduces Samantha to a place hidden at school where outcasts share poems that they create. She finally begins to feel normal and even falls in love…until something shocking happens.
This book took me 4 days to read. In the beginning, I had put this book down quite a few times because the beginning was awfully slow. I was actually going to stop continuing reading this book but I decided I shouldn’t because I already took the time to read most of it already.
For the first half of the book, I felt it was mediocre; it featured a girl who was fighting to feel normal and found something and someone that makes her happy and feel like her “true self”. To me, this seems like a cliched plot that is in every book, something that every main character goes through. But then when you think the book is finally coming to an end, the biggest plot twist occurs that shocked me as a reader.
**SPOILER ALERT BELOW–DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE DETAILS!
Her new friend, Caroline, who had given her the sense of comfort and understanding with her mental illness and everything turned out to be a girl who had committed suicide years before. This same girl was the founder of the hidden place inside the school where outcasts go to feel normal and understood while reading their own poetry.
This is where this book caught my love. This main character found this new beginning complete with a new friend and a hobby that she now loves, but then it just got squashed right in front of her. The way I felt as the reader having to read the lines “she passed away a while ago” was absolutely shocking and unexpected.
Now to say what I liked and disliked about this book overall… What I liked about this book was that even though I don’t go through what Samantha does, I felt the anxiety through the thoughts she had presented to me in the book. Once I knew what she did as a way to feel complete, I would wait for her to do that every time or else I wouldn’t feel complete. It was a routine I had gotten used to while reading. Always do things in three. I felt whatever she felt. It was like I was Samantha.
What I disliked about this book was how boring the beginning was. It was slow and only until the very end was when something interesting happened. I wished there was more to the ending and how she recovered from knowing her friend wasn’t actually alive. I also disliked how there really wasn’t that much chemistry between the main character and the love interest. It seemed like they met and then, by the next page, they were together.
Some things to know before reading this book is that this book isn’t focused on romance. If you were to read this book solely for romance then this book isn’t for you. This book is more of the journey on Samantha realizing she isn’t just her illness.
Out of five stars I’d give it a 3.5, although this is a good read and I do recommend it to have time go by faster.