Wow, I really enjoyed Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. It's the story of a girl, Sam, who has Pure-O OCD. Pure-O is something I'd never heard of before but it focuses on obsessive thoughts instead of compulsions which OCD is more known for. I really enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about this and also about Sam and her life and friendships.
I think the thing I liked the most about this book is the way that poetry is used to help struggling teenagers to battle through mental illness, heartbreak, grief, bullying and other really awful things that teenagers go through. Sam meets this band of misfits that don't really fit in and they become this great, comforting and supportive friendship group. Through words and song lyrics and poetry and they write all their thoughts and feelings down and share with the other members of the Poetry Corner in this really awesome, vulnerable, brave way.
In direct opposition to the Poetry Corner group are Sam's 'best friends' the 'Crazy Eights' who are all for the most part manipulative, bitchy mean girls who treat Sam really badly and leave her feeling uncertain and unwanted and unsure about where she fits in. It feels easy to just think Sam should walk away from this group of girls but it's all she's known for such a long time and I could understand why it was so difficult for her.
And while I don't think that the romantic elements of the story between Sam and AJ were at the heart of the novel, I did like them together. It was an interesting to see them become what they did after Sam and her friends bullied him when they were all younger. I'm not sure if that was quite believable but perhaps I'm just not as forgiving as AJ is.
My favourite thing about the whole book is witnessing Sam's progression throughout the novel from someone very unsure of herself to someone happy and confident and able to share with those closest to her. I was really drawn to her as a character and I always, always wanted the best for her. I loved her friendship with Caroline, I loved how she described her experiences in the swimming pool and I especially loved reading her raw, honest poetry.
This book inspired me. To read more about Pure-O and to try my hand at some of my own poetry.