By: Melanie | June 14, 2015 | (65) Comments

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland StoneEvery Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: June 16th, 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

Every Last Word is one of those books that had me wanting to smash it into a pulp from page 1, but had me sobbing my eyes out sniffling a bit during the last few chapters.

This story follows Sam, a girl dealing who was diagnosed with Purely Obsessional OCD (aka Pure-O) at the age of 11. While she may look perfectly fine on the outside, each day she is battling with the uncontrollable thoughts that consume her.

I wasn’t quite sure I picked up the same book as everyone else when I was a few chapters into the novel. Why? Because most of my friends gave this book 4 or 5 stars and there was I, reading along thinking that this was one of the worst books I’ve ever read on mental illnesses. And the main reason of that was because I HATE Sam (the main character)’s so called friends. They’re the ‘popular’ and ‘I-think-I’m-prettier-than-all-of-you’ girls at school and every girl hates them and every guy loves them. Yeah, that kinda group. Hellooo, high school social hierarchy. Anyway, Sam’s friends pissed me off. Majorly. So much that I was ready to just give up on the book altogether. Within their little posse, the ‘main girl’, Alexis (of course that’s her name <.<), has basically created her own social ladder amongst the 4 other girls she calls her best friends.

“Not Hailey. You.” [Alexis] pokes my collarbone. And now I know precisely where I reside on her social ladder: Second rung from the bottom. Hailey occupies the last one, and as soon as she learns I’m invited to Alexis’s birthday and she’s not, she’ll know it too.

I actually find it comical how stupidly shallow their friendship is. It’s so fake and well, childish. 

“You have no idea how sad I’ve been, Samantha. I felt horrible not asking you. Even though our moms weren’t friends in preschool, you and I were best friends in kindergarten!”

In short, Alexis had to choose 2 of her 4 friends to go to the spa with because her mom only got 3 reservations, so Alexis decides to choose the two girls she was best friends with first. And, since all of them met each other at the same time, Alexis chooses the two girls whose mums were friends with first instead. WHAT. THE. FUCK. If I only got three reservations to the spa and had more than that many close friends, I’d ditch the spa and go someplace else because friends > going to some fancy pants spa.

Surprisingly enough, this book did a 180 spin soon later and progressively got better. Sure, Sam still had these hella annoying and fake friends, but I started to get over that because we see less of them the more involved Sam becomes with her new friends. I particularly love Caroline, who is just such a supportive friend and funky girl that wears the best t-shirts. She also suffers from depression, though I personally would have liked to look into that a little more (but I totally get why the author did not). View Spoiler »

In terms of the romance, I am really torn about it. AJ is really weary about Sam during the first half of this book because back in 4th grade, she and her ‘friends’ bullied AJ so bad that he feared his own name and had speech problems. If you know me, you know I love, love, LOVE the hate to love romance trope when executed correctly and well, this one just didn’t give me the feels I was told I was gonna get. While I can see how AJ and Sam’s relationship works, I just don’t ship it hard.

I think Every Last Word is a very important novel to read. Sure, it’s not too promising starting off, but by the end of the book, I can definitely say I knew a lot more about OCD than I started off with. It opened my eyes to see the whole spectrum of OCD – there isn’t just one type and there are subcategories. I definitely recommend to read the acknowledgements for this book. I got a little teary just from that, and I love how much effort and dedication Stone took to make this story as genuine as possible. And she did a pretty damn good job, in the end.

~Thank you Disney Hyperion for the review copy!~

3.5 Stars

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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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65 Responses to Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

  1. eileen li says:


    i can definitely see how the best friend relationship was not on par with the rest of the story, because what kind of idiot chooses her friends based on when their moms met? just send the moms to the spa and go to the mall or something. either way, glad this one ended up being a hit for you!!

    • Melanie says:

      EILEEN!!! *TACKLES YOU* Miss you so much too omfg. Right? I could not get over how bad the friendship was between these girls. It was just so twisted.

      Thanks for stopping by gal!

  2. Great review, Melanie! I agree about the beginning – I really struggled with Sam’s friends and their whole group dynamic. It was awful! But I’m glad I stuck with it, because it was totally worth it. Love Sam’s arc and her new friends. THAT TWIST. Gah.
    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted…ARC Review: Pure BloodedMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thank you Danielle! Right? This is one of those gems that just get better the more you go.


  3. I don’t know much about OCD, so I’m sure this book will really show me a lot too. I’ve heard others say the beginning was tough. At least I know now not to give up too early on. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Lost in Our Thoughts: Is the 3-Star Rating Losing Its Positivity?My Profile

  4. I actually felt the same way in the beginning and I was debating whether or not I should just DNF. But since I share the same illness with Sam, and it was portrayed so accurately, I decided to keep reading. It ended up working out better for me than it did for you but I’m glad you enjoyed it! I was also veryyyy not a fan of Sam’s Crazy 8s friends, but her new friends were awesome! I kept waiting for the same thing *she* was waiting for – that everyone was just mocking her and secretly hating her, so it had me on the edge of my seat that way. And yes, that twist! I’ve read a few books that had that same twist so I was soooooooorta prepared but I will never be over it!
    Bekka @ Great Imaginations recently posted…The Astrologer’s DaughterMy Profile

    • Bekka says:

      Crap, I have all my urls mixed up in that last comment. Oops!

    • Melanie says:

      It’s so great to hear it was portrayed really accurately, Bekka! 🙂 Yes, I adored all her new friends and they are all just such wonderful people that I want in my life as well. Yeah, I recently read a book with a similar twist but didn’t expect it here but now I totally have trust issues with books ahaha.

  5. Missie says:

    I am so glad you have enjoyed this one, I love all the good reviews this book has gotten, and like you said, it needs to be read!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
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  6. Hannah says:

    Argh, so tired of the generic crappy high school popular friends trope. But I’m glad that the book redeemed itself somewhat.
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Paperweight – Meg HastonMy Profile

  7. Jasprit says:

    I’m glad to see that this book picked up for you in the second half Melanie, as I have this book coming up in my to read next stack. And I haven’t had a book which has emotionally overwhelmed me in a long time, so I really hope that this book evokes some sort of reaction with me. Thank you for the honest review!
    Jasprit recently posted…Blog Tour: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren GibaldiMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      OOh I cannot wait to hear what you think of this one, girl! Yeah, I honestly didn’t expect to be so emotionally effected but yeah, got a few tears outta me xD

  8. I’m very curious about this one! Hope to get my hands on a copy soon. 🙂
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…{Mirror Mirror} LOTS of books & LOTS of writingMy Profile

  9. Interested to see how this one will develop :O I had a feeling of dread when I read the whole “popular girls” thing in the blurb and I guess I might be semi-right to have felt that dread but hopefully it won’t consume the story!
    Ju @ Fictional Skylines recently posted…Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

  10. The beginning sounds very annoying (the friends sounds terrible!) but I’m so glad it turned around. I’ve been wanting to read more books about mental illness, so maybe I’ll end up picking this one up!
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  11. Ksenia says:

    Wonderful review, Melanie! Glad to hear you enjoyed this book despite not so good start. Sorry the romance didn’t grab you the way you’d expected.
    Ksenia recently posted…Audiobook Mini-review: After the Night by Linda HowardMy Profile

  12. I hated her friends with a passion! I loved Caroline and I understand how you feel ='( I loved that I got to learn more about OCD. Being a psych major, it fascinated me a whole lot more than studying it in class. I’m glad you didn’t give up on it =) And thanks yo your review of Red Queen, I’ll start it this week!! I hadn’t remembered your rating and for some unknown reason thought you gave it a bad rating so i was like “If Mel says its bad, its bad” but decided to check the reviee and realized you had given it 4 stars so I bumped it up on my tbr!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews recently posted…Latte Nights Obsessions #5My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Right? Those friends of her need to go burn in a fire. Aw haha so glad you’re reading Red Queen 🙂 I really liked it and I hope you do too, Gen

  13. I’ve seen sooo many positive and raving reviews for this I JUST NEED IT. (Okay, yeah, I say that about 98% of books, but seriously, I have a book addiction and #noregrets) I’ve read quite a few seriously amazing books on OCD this year (Mostly The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B and The Rest of Us Just Live Here.) AND I AM SO UP FOR MORE. Just must remember to push through the weird beginning. *nods*
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  14. I am really excited to read this! Great review!
    Katie @ Book Arrows recently posted…Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

  15. I have this in my Kindle, but I kept putting it off. Looks like I have to really give it a shot!
    Priscilla and her Books recently posted…Pretty Thing: ReviewMy Profile

  16. Oh gosh. I have been in the midst of reading this one, and I have to say I feel the same way about Sam and her so-called friends. Insipid, shallow lot, I tell ya. I don’t really know if I can be patient, but I’ll trust your word for it and persevere.
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  17. Hilary says:

    It`s so strange not to see you fall head-over-heels in love with this book especially since so many people gave it five stars. But I think I`m going to pick this book up because I did not know there were subcategories to OCD and that`s really interesting. Actually, now that I think about it, books about mental illnesses are fascinating to me. When executed correctly.
    Hilary recently posted…Why Can’t We All Be Friends?My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Right? I thought there was just OCD end of story. Nope, I was wrong! Yeah, I really enjoy mental illness books. I hope you love this one, hun!

  18. I totally agree with the reading the acknowledgments, I think that it probably upped it a half a star for me, honestly! And YES I agree 100% about the “friends”. They were horrible! I mean, on one hand, she’s in high school so I kind of get it but then I was never, EVER like that so then… I still don’t get it. But it worked for the story, even though I wanted to slap them all 😉
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    • Melanie says:

      Tbh, I definitely made that 3.5 rating even more solid for me as well! I do love reading acknowledgements, especially for contemporary novels.

  19. Johanna Richards says:

    Oh wow yes Sam’s friends do definitely seem HORRIBLE and I don’t think I would be able to bear with them either! It’s great that this one got better as it went and I would be curious to see how a book deals with a girl going through life with Purely Obsessional OCD (never knew that was a thing!)

  20. Amelia K says:

    Ooh I always read acknowledgements to books I enjoy so now I’m getting pretty excited about this one seeing how you really like that part of the novel! I’ve seen this one on Goodreads a lot and I really like the cover so I shall read this.

    Great review Melanie!!

  21. Nobody says:

    I was too tempted and read the spoilers haha. I think it’s made me want to read this even more now though because I didn’t expect that loll

  22. So okay, this book is one of my most anticipated release this year and I’m glad that even though Sam’s friends drove you crazy, you still enjoyed it. Gahh! Thanks for the heads up Melanie and I don’t know what possessed me to read the spoiler but I did. Huhuhu. Anyway, awesome review Melanie <3333
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  23. Heidi says:

    I enjoyed this author’s other two books and I was curious about this. I actually do know a bit about OCD so I would be curious to read this. I will remember though to be very patient.
    Heidi recently posted…Review: Seriously Wicked by Tina ConnollyMy Profile

  24. Kelly says:

    Everyone seems to be loving this one at the moment, so it’s so refreshing to see a not only well written, but well balanced review. There seems to be an influx of YA featuring mental illnesses lately, and although this one sounds pretty good, I think I’m just tired of the whole mean girl prose. Glad to see it picks up after Sam meets a new group of friends. Still wanting to give this one a read, but will be mindful how slow it is to start. Wonderful review Mel <3
    Kelly recently posted…Extraordinary Means by Robyn SchneiderMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Aw thanks, Kels <33 Yeah, I'm seeing books about mental illnesses left and right these days! Not that I'm complaining, because I love reading about them.

  25. The friendships in this book kind of remind me of the friendships in Before I Fall, what with the bitchy popular girls and the somewhat less bitchy main character. Heck, even the main character’s names are the same — Sam! xD But even though Lindsay and her gang could be total snobs at times in Before I Fall, I don’t think I ever once came to hate them because their relationship with Sam seemed really sincere and genuine. Doesn’t sound like the case here, though. You’re right, those quotes make Alexis sound really immature and petty. How she even managed to make friends in the first place, I have no clue. -_-

    But whew, I’m relieved that hope was not all lost. Caroline sounds like someone I’d love to meet, mostly because I think I’ll relate to her pretty well and because I need to know what kinds of awesome shirts she wears! (Graphic tees ftw!) Ah, well, I don’t have high hopes for romances in YA books to begin with, so the mediocre one here doesn’t really surprise me. It was the same in Before I Fall — Kent was super adorable, but the romance didn’t evoke much feels from me either.

    Great review, Mel! I’m glad this turned out to be an enjoyable book in the end. ^_^
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    • Melanie says:

      Haha yes! Though I think this Sam’s friends were much more worse and extreme. You defs need to read this book, girl! I’m sure you’ll love Caroline indeed 😉 Thanks, girl <33

  26. I was also not a fan of the mean girls stuff in this (though I get that she was afraid to tell those girls she had OCD) and that twist at the end was REALLY weird. Really.
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics
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  27. Well thought out, Mel! I’ve heard glowing things about this one and I’m so excited because it deals with OCD, and I have a self-diagnosed OCPD. Your review provides a different perspective. I think I’ll just have to come to this one thinking the superficial friendship is kind of the point.
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    • Melanie says:

      Yeah I can sorta see why there are bitchy friends to help support the story line but I felt like it was just way too extreme, y’know? I hope you enjoy this one, Shelumiel!

  28. Cynthia says:

    Great review. I have heard mainly good things about it. I do hate the mean girl aspect though. Why must all teenage girls in books be so mean??
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  29. I have definitely missed your reviews Mel! Yeah, her friends sound really fake and superficial but I’m glad she finds a more real crowd of friends finally. The spa thing, that just doesn’t make sense? I’m glad this one explores OCD though, definitely curious. Lovely review!
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  30. Yours is the first review that I have read for this book that hasn’t been super glowing, and I’m SO glad.

    Whilst I am always up for a YA book that deals with mental health in a good way, I don’t think this book is for me. I LOATHE books with friendship hierarchies because they are so freaking pretty, and also unrealistic. Like you said: give the spa a miss instead of being an a-grade bitchy pants. And the whole mother friend thing? WTF???

    I’m glad it got better for you, though, Mel, and that it turned out to be worth the read! As always, great review, lovely <3
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    • Melanie says:

      I’m glad that my review brought some more perspective for you! The whole mother thing is so effed up like WHAT THE HECK GIRL IS WRONG WITH YOU.

      Thanks, Chiara <33

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  32. Lyn Kaye says:

    I totally have a weakness for infiltrating the popular group, since it gives the story a certain edge, but those girls were just plain terrible.
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  33. The following time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my option to read, but I truly thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you possibly can fix should you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

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