Book: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: YA / Romance / Contemporary
Publishing Date: 16th June, 2015
My Rating: 5 Stars on 5
OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. THIS BOOK!
This is the first book this year that has given me such a major hangover after The Dream Thieves, but then all of Stiefvater’s books are love but I digress. I just finished Every Last Word an hour ago and since then I haven’t been able to function properly.
So it started when Netgalley approved me for this book and I was pretty surprised since I’d only just started reading on the site and had very few (two) reviews up. I picked it up in May, but then decided to press pause on it until the release date came closer [I know, I’m an idiot].
But I finally picked it up the day it released and even though University stuff called, I finished it in two days. Well, a major chunk [more than 80%] was read today – across train travelling, during lectures and I even put my Malhar work on hold. Like what.
The book takes time to build up but once it does, it whooshes past you and without realizing it, you’re at 60% and you’re so close to the end that you’re wondering what are the plot points / twists and then, BAM – it hits you in the stomach like a bullet.
ELW is a beautifully written book where the protagonist is a popular girl, but with a secret – she’s diagnosed with Purely Obsessional OCD. As a psychology student from three years, I have loved reading and researching about mental illness as part of my academics. Seeing it put down in a YA book, that too with an MC is something that delighted me. Stone managed to make her portrayal of a teenaged girl in sync with the illness she has.
The book is a romance too, and I thought that’d be something on the side lines, but AJ and Sam are such a healthy couple and their history is very well developed too. Poet’s Corner is a wonderful little creation, but most of all I admired the way Stone wrote the Crazy Eights. People are not black and white; it isn’t easy to compartmentalize them into either good or bad. Stone highlighted those in-between stages in a teenager’s life very well – especially that of a stereotyped high school clique of girls.
BUT THAT TWIST.
Obviously I cannot give away the twist, the essence of the novel but that was something I did not see coming. I was genuinely blown away by that reveal and the way that it was written just had me hooked. I went through the last chapters hungrily, loving the way it was unfolding and how it was so, so good for Sam.
The writing is very languid, flows very calmly for me, pacing up when it needs to. I could relate to the MC so much, I felt for her, sometimes I could even visualize her in my head or myself in her place, wondering what I’d have done. Her dilemmas were real, her feelings could be tangible, her story was believable and that’s what made this book such an amazing read for me.
The romance – AJ AND SAM are such a great couple. That introduction to the book was quite intriguing too, and then there’s the secondary character, we don’t meet them often but they are so important to the novel – her mom along her therapist (who we do meet). Stone mentions in her acknowledgements how important a strong patient-therapist relationship is and how immensely it helps and all I can say is how well she wove that into the book.
Sam’s OCD told me there’s another side to the OCD I see portrayed as a joke on TV and in movies or to a sidekick to be laughed at in novels. Mental illness is not a joke and it needs to be heard. As I’d read once on tumblr: When you have fever, you take a day off, let your body rest. If your brain feels sick, shouldn’t you treat it first?
The taboo over mental illness, the stigmatization over seeking treatment, the ostracization or fear of by others for seeking help is horrible and maybe, just maybe the people who read this book will understand how twisted it is and how important mental health is.
This book taught me a load of stuff, and that’s something I love in the books I read. That’s the reason the book got a five not four stars from me.
And the reason I’m suffering from major book hangover.
I seriously recommend you pick this up. If you study humanities, like reading quality YA and if you’re looking for something different, pick up Every Last Word.
-I received a free e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.-
Until next time,