So I read a lot of young adult books. Enough that there are times when I think that I’ve read every possible scenario involving teenage love-drama-angst-not fitting in-bullying-teasing-etc. And yes, the storylines can become stale and/or familiar from time to time. But books like this one are the reason I keep at it, the reason I keep reading almost anything I can get my hands on. Not all of them, however, reach the level of this one.
A teenager with OCD. That alone was enough to grab my attention. But that by itself is not enough to carry a story. This one has so much more.
On the outside, Samantha has it all. She’s part of the in-crowd, popular girls who have been friends since they were little. She has a good family, does well enough in school, and is a star swimmer. There’s more to Samantha than meets the eye, however. In addition to all these things, she has OCD. Her mind is consumed by obsessive thoughts-the number 3, questions she must find the answer to, people she can’t stop thinking about.
With the help of her family and excellent therapy, she does a good job of hiding it. Appearances can be deceiving, though. On the inside, she panics at the thought of losing the approval of her friends. Friends who, if she’s completely honest with herself, really aren’t that nice to begin with. But they provide her with a safety net, and that’s what she needs.
Then one day she meets Caroline, who is the complete opposite of what she’s used to. And more importantly, Caroline leads her to Poet’s Corner, a hidden little nook of people just like her. With Caroline’s encouragement, Samantha begins to branch out, to share parts of herself she’s never exposed to others.
And then there’s AJ. Because what would a young adult story be without a love interest? AJ is exactly what Samantha needs. He’s calming and comforting, and through his love she finds the courage to be herself. But the OCD is always there, lurking, threatening everything Samantha’s found. She can’t bring herself to tell AJ about her struggles because in his eyes she feels normal.
This book broke my heart. I cried inside thinking of everything that Samantha went through each and every day. And yes, I know that it’s fiction. But it’s truth for many young people. It’s full of sadness, and it’s full of hope. There’s friendship lost as well as friendship found. The inner struggle that Samantha faces is very real as are her feelings of loneliness. And at the end of the book is a story that you won’t soon forget.
Buy It Now: Every Last Word