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Every Last Word

Cover: 'Every Last Word'

Staff Review: "Every Last Word" by Tamara Ireland Stone

★★★★★

Samantha is not looking forward to the start of her junior year of high school. She enjoys the freedom of summer, particularly the freedom she finds on her summer swim team, where she can be “Sam” and can escape the scrutiny of her cadre of cool girl/mean girl friends, the Crazy Eights, who insist upon calling her Samantha. Then she meets Caroline, who is nothing like her popular friends and proves to be a trustworthy confidant. Sam entrusts Caroline with her biggest secret—she was diagnosed with Purely-Obsessional OCD at age 11. Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a secret poetry group that meets in a hidden room under the school auditorium. Poet’s Corner provides a space for Sam, who has always had an interest in words, to express herself in a new way and entertain the possibility of new friends and maybe a boyfriend. Yet, Sam can’t escape the fear that she will not be able to keep her worlds separate. Then again, does she want to? This book is a thoughtful exploration of identity, the power of writing as an act of self-expression, and coming to terms with not being “normal” in an unalterable way. Sam may see words as a means of constructing barriers and works hard to keep her secrets, but her story wears its heart on its sleeve. Fans of Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Dessen and those interested in poetry or in the act of writing as a creative one are likely to enjoy this book.

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

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