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Stone, Tamara Ireland. Every Last Word.

4Q * 4P * S

Stone, Tamara Ireland. Every Last Word. Hyperion, 2015. 368p. $17.99. 978-1-4847-0527-8.

At the beginning of her junior year, Samantha McAllister must leave behind the relaxed, confident, happy "Summer Sam" she becomes when she is away from the popular group of friends she has had since kindergarten, the Crazy Eights. To the Eights she is "Samantha"--a follower who maintains her role within the group in worry that they will kick her out, especially if they found out about her OCD. To ease a panic attack, Sam finds a quiet place to control her thoughts--the school's theater. There she meets Caroline who quickly becomes a friend that shows up when Sam needs her most. Caroline brings Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room where a group of students secretly share their poetry, opening up Sam's world to new friends, to writing poetry, and to AJ, a boy she tormented as "Samantha" but falls in love with as "Sam." An on-page sex scene brings Sam and AJ emotionally together, which helps Sam strengthen her resolve against the Eights. Sam just wants to be normal, but when she learns the truth about Caroline, she fears that she might be crazy.

This tender novel shows how powerful and helpful the brain can be under stress without being clinical or detached. Sam's supportive therapist, parents, and boyfriend all play important roles in Sam's mental health and show her that she is not "crazy." This book is highly recommended--readers will connect with Sam, relating to her anxiety about her peers, and root for her throughout the book.--Stacy Holbrook.

Every Last Word portrays--incredibly well--the daily hardships of being a teen with OCD. Readers will immediately connect with Sam and be able to see their own school's popular posse reflected in the Crazy Eights. As they empathize with Sam's journey to join the exhilaratingly fresh Poet's Corner, readers will also become fascinated with the terrifying aspects of OCD through a constant view into Sam's ever-churning mind. High schoolers who enjoy realistic fiction will be eager to pick this novel up. 4Q, 4P.--Victoria Quint, Teen Reviewer.

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Author:Holbrook, Stacy; Quint, Victoria
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2015
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