Friday, 19 March 2021

Every Last Word by: Tamara Ireland Stone

 Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary 

Published: June 16, 2015 by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 

Pages: 358 

Rating: 5/5 stars 

CW: Pure-OCD, intrusive thoughts, delusions, mention of suicide 

Sam is quite popular amongst her friends, but something she would never have the courage to share with them is that she suffers with serious Pure-OCD. Her OCD causes her to have very gruesome intrusive thoughts that she cannot turn off, and she just knows that nobody would understand. That is, until Sam meets Caroline, a quirky girl who introduces Sam to the Poet's Corner. The Poet's Corner is a secret club within Sam's high school where students can gather to share poems, songs, and just feel like they belong. Sam feels welcome in the Poet's Corner, and for once she feels like she could share anything. That is, until she beings to question what is apart of her reality, and whether she can tell Caroline about it. 

This book... damn this book. Have you ever read a book that you could just relate to so much, that it seemed like a letter written to you? That was me with this book. Stone was able to create a world that was so relatable to me, so vivid, that it felt like she was speaking directly to me. And this book was a hard read, certainly the main character Sam goes through some very harsh things. But I felt seen in her character. I felt like I wasn't alone. It was so powerful. 

First off, Stone accurately portrayed what Pure-OCD is like. Accuracy is so important when talking on any issue, and I can say that this book was accurate, at least to my experiences. Everyone's experiences with a mental health issue can be different, so it is always important to read a wide range of reviews on books. That being said, I do think that Stone did her homework on what Pure-OCD is like, and I loved how she dismantled stereotypes associated with OCD. She did powerful work in this story, and it was so needed. 

I loved reading about Sam's relationship with her therapist. Therapy can either be very hard for someone, or it can be a great benefit. But, I personally love reading positive therapist/patient relationships in mental health novels, because I have a great relationship with my therapist. I enjoyed getting to see Sam's progression with her therapist, and I could relate to her struggles with whether or not to share something with her therapist. But, her therapist was understanding and a great representation of a good OCD therapist. 

The Poet's Corner was a great addition to the book as well. I love clubs in books, but oftentimes those clubs actually turn into dark academia, which is not my vibe. But this club was so wholesome as it was just a safe space for students to gather and share their artwork. And I thought that was totally awesome! It made me so happy how Sam felt welcome in the club, and I also appreciated how this club shows how art can be a sort-of therapy for people. 

I was not expecting the ending at all. It came out of the blue for me, but I also appreciated it so much because learning something new about your mental illness can often hit you like a shock. I loved the ending because it revealed that living with a mental illness is not often black and white. And sometimes, you have to go through tough moments and really analyze your mind in order to heal. Sam struggles, but she is also so strong. And I needed to see that. 

This book does deal with some heavy-hitting topics, and the twist can be triggering to some people, so do be careful when reading this. However, if you are struggling with OCD and need to know that you are not alone, then give this book a read. It made me feel so validated. 

Have you read Every Last Word? What did you think? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess


  1. I read "pure OCD" and I remembered your post about it, so I was really happy that you could relate to this book so much because the author did her research (or maybe experienced it firsthand, I don't know and that's beside the point of course. Also...not our business 🙂). It sounds like a powerful read!

    1. Yes, it was very powerful indeed. The author wrote at the end of the book that she wrote it by interviewing sufferers and consulting with doctors and therapists. So overall it was a very great example of an accurately researched book!

  2. So glad you enjoyed this Em! I'll have to check it out <3

  3. This sounds fabulous and I just feel like there is so much mental health out there that people don't see reflected, and I'm so glad books like this are being written now- and read. The idea of this safe space club is awesome, frankly. I hope there are things like in real life. )

    "I enjoyed getting to see Sam's progression with her therapist, and I could relate to her struggles with whether or not to share something with her therapist."

    This is so awesome.

    1. I hope that there are clubs like that in real life too! Seeing how it helped Sam in the book made me think about how much a club could help others as well.