Sam was diagnosed with OCD at a very early age, and has been seeing a psychiatrist for a long time. One of Sam’s problems is that she becomes obsessed with negative thoughts and can’t get them out of her mind. So beginning a new school year brings on all sorts of trauma. Sam is a member of the Crazy Eights, a group of the most popular girls in the school that can be quite demanding.
Her psychiatrist, Sue, has always encouraged her to break away from this group and find new friends, but it has been difficult. When Caroline befriends Sam, new opportunities open up including writing poetry and even romance.
The characters are complex and interesting. The perceived stress caused by the Crazy Eights, whether real or not, is palpable and I could understand Sam’s need to lead a double life. AJ, the love interest, is almost too good to be true, but that’s love I guess. Sue is exceptional. If nothing else, I hope Every Last Word encourages people to seek out a therapist if needed. Sue is a great example of how a therapist can be a positive influence. I loved how Sam felt comfortable telling Sue everything, and in crisis, Sue was the first person she went to.
The twist towards the end of the book shocked me. I wasn’t expecting it, and I wasn’t sure if it was necessary, but Stone handles it well, just like everything else in Every Last Word. Sam grows and changes and makes progress – there are steps forward and back, but in the end she’s in a good place. Of course, everything isn’t perfect – I don’t think you “cure” OCD, but it is a hopeful ending.
I can recommend Every Last Word to any teen who likes a contemporary story with drama and romance. Every Last Word is an excellent example of a realistic teen novel with all the feels.
eARC obtained from NetGalley
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