Good Afternoon Everyone!
I hope you all are enjoying the last few hours remaining of two-thousand seventeen! I really can’t believe this year is almost over. Yesterday’s post listed my top 7 books I read this year in the young adult category. I thought I’d pick 7 for 2017 (I didn’t have a list of 17 books in the YA category because I focused more on reading classic novels this year.) Tomorrow, I have a post planned for the top 8 books I am excited to read in 2018.
For those of you who read yesterday’s post (click here to see my list of my 7 favorites), you know that I left the number one spot blank. This is because I haven’t given this book a full review yet here on the blog, and I felt this YA novel deserved it’s own post. As I also said yesterday, this book is not just my favorite book of 2017, but it may just be my new all time favorite book!!
And that book — my FAVORITE read of the whole year — is…
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
So without further ado, here is my full review of this incredibly well written novel.
Book: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
My Goodreads Rating: 5 stars! *****
Synopsis (via Goodreads.com):
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.
* * *
Do you know the feeling when you’ve just finished reading a book and it was just so perfectly and beautifully written that you just close the book, sit there a minute, and say wow?
That’s how I feel right now, after just finishing this book. Stone’s writing in Every Last Word captivated me. Every. Last. Word. If I could give more than five stars as a rating for this book, I would.
Honestly, the way this book was written and the way each little piece was woven together so well, makes it feel so realistic. As the reader, you feel like you are Sam McAllister, and you’re invested in the story and all of the character’s in Poet’s Corner.
Which, how insanely cool is Poet’s Corner?! For those of you who have read it, let me know below what you thought ofthe concept. But for those of you who haven’t yet read it, it is basically a hidden room at Sam’s high school where the teens “who need it” go to read their poetry or sing the songs they wrote. After reading this book, I seriously wish my school had a secret club like that, meant only to help and build others up through words. Because words have so much power. Every last one of them.
Each kid in the group was dealing with something. And as AJ says, “everyone’s got something.”
Speaking of AJ! His story and character really stuck with me. I was just amazed at how Ms. Stone portrayed this boy and the things he’s accomplished and overcome, despite the difficulties he’s had. The way his forgiveness and his kind heart shine through in this story was so inspiring to me. I don’t know that I could have that much forgiveness if I were in his position.
AJ and Sam were so amazing together in that they were exactly what they needed from one another. There is one part in the book where Sam says of him, “…thinking about how perfect he is, maybe not in every way, but in every way I need him to be.” And I just found that line to be so incredible and well-said. I think a lot of people get caught up in the “perfect” love story or the “perfect” guy. I really appreciated the way this author said that line. AJ was perfect for Sam and Sam was perfect for AJ, in exactly the ways they needed.
Also, the ending (which I will not say here to avoid spoilers) was SO well done and blew my mind. Also, the idea of 3’s in this book and the playlists and titles is so well incorporated into chapter titles and even the whole book’s title is only three words. Honestly, this author just thought everything through and it really shows in the writing and plot. In her author’s note, Stone explains the time she spent researching to make sure her story was accurate, and that really showed in the book as well. And as a fellow author who puts a lot of time into research before and while writing, I really appreciated that she put that time in. You can tell the subject is close to her heart and because of the effort she put in to explaining things, I am very interested in the subject as well.
So thank you, Tamara Ireland Stone, for writing this story in the way you did and crafting a character I related to in so many ways like Sam McAllister, so that you could shed some light on difficult subjects like mental health. I think your story and the backstory to why you chose to write on this topic will help and inspire so many people.
My favorite quote:
“Everyone’s got something,” he says.
“Of course they do. Some people are just better actors than others.”
So with that, I hope that you all have a very wonderful New Years Eve and a very Happy New Year! I hope that 2018 is better than you can imagine! I also hope that we all think about words and the impact they have on those around us, and ourselves. I know that my words are going to be a big focus in 2018, especially as I finish writing The Illusion Trilogy. With this being the final book in the series, I know the words I chose to end it with are very important and I want to really focus on my writing.
Happy New Year!