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Ages 12 to 18
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.
"Clueless meets Dead Poets Society with a whopping final twist." -Kirkus Reviews
"This book is highly recommended-readers will connect with Sam, relating to her anxiety about her peers, and root for her throughout the book." -VOYA
"A thoughtful romance with a strong message about self-acceptance, [this] sensitive novel boasts strong characterizations and conflicts that many teens will relate to. Eminently readable." -Booklist
"A brilliant and moving story about finding your voice, the power of words, and true friendship. I couldn't put it down " -Elizabeth Eulberg, Author of The Lonely Hearts Club
"Brilliant, brave, and beautiful." -Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books
"A riveting story of love, true friendship, self-doubt and self-confidence, overcoming obstacles, and truly finding oneself." -Melanie Koss, Professor of Young Adult Literature, Northern Illinois University
"Romantic, unpredictable, relatable, and so very enjoyable." -Arnold Shapiro, Oscar- and Emmy-winning Producer
"Characters to love and a story to break your heart. Readers will want to turn page after page and read every last word. Then do it all over again." -Marianne Follis, Teen Librarian, Valley Ranch (Irving) Public Library
What a wonderful exploration of mental illness. It may seem strange to say "wonderful," but Samantha, who suffers from the obsessive side of OCD, has strong, supportive relationships with both her mother and her therapist, which is a rare thing to see in YA these days. Written in compelling language, EVERY LAST WORD is a book that truly shows a teenager finding her own voice and overcoming anxieties in a way that is one step above others of its ilk. Recommended for those who love Rainbow Rowell and John Green.