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. (via Goodreads)
Source: Thanks for the review copy, Disney-Hyperion! ❤
Please excuse me if this review is absolutely incoherent.
Because I think I just found my new favorite book of 2015. Or maybe ever.
Samantha was an AWESOME protagonist. I harbor no secret love for makeup or dresses or other girlish things, but somehow I could still relate to her! It wasn’t like she was “the only good one” out of the bunch of her popular friends, but she was just the most… I guess you could say insecure one in the role? Her friends weren’t portrayed as Bad Mean Popular Teenage Girls, but just real people with different values than Sam. And to be fair, Sam WAS a little odd at times. Like she’d cry over something small like not getting to sit with her friends at lunch or not getting a bag of makeup or some other silly reason that just seemed totally relevant to her at the moment.
AND THAT WAS OKAY, because that was Samantha being herself.
Sam’s OCD is a part of her. Maybe something that she didn’t like so much, but she’s stuck with it, and she has to deal with it now. Instead of crying over that, she comes to terms with it and lives with it.
Her mom was really fantabulously amazing and she deserves ALL THE HUGS. ❤ ❤ ❤ (Although she’s the one who usually ends up giving them.)
She is just such a good mom. She pays attention to her kids, and she supports them in everything they do, but she discourages them from doing things that might hurt their future… and that isn’t considered a bad thing, which is AMAZING for a YA book. Because you know what? Parents AREN’T always the villains. Sometimes, they just want you to live a good happy life. And they’re just trying to help you out here.
Sam doesn’t feel like she has to hide herself and everything she does from her mom, because her mom will support her and help her make better choices if she makes the wrong ones. Seriously, though. We need more wonderful moms like this one in YA. (And also like my own mother, because she is fantastic and I know she wants me to say something along those lines here.)
The ONLY thing I might question would be the romance.
I mean, there wasn’t anything WRONG with it, persay. I just felt the book might have been better off without it, because what I really wanted to see was Sam finding a new group of friends where she can truly be herself and be accepted for who she is inside. BUT I did love the fact that the romance did not define Sam, that it was just an add-on to the plot, but didn’t consume it. And while it didn’t drown the plot, and wasn’t exactly necessary, it DID help (somewhat) to advance it. But the great thing is that I get the sense that Sam would have been A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y fine had she not had a boyfriend. Which was AWESOME!
OH, and Caroline and Poets’ Corner? AMAZING. Just AMAZING.
It made me want to write poetry, even though I don’t like poetry! I mean, give me ALL THE WORDS. And CAROLINE? Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh she was fantastic and geeky and wonderful and bookwormish and so so so totally like me (kind of but not) AND
This book taught me that sometimes you can cry and be crazy and totally unreasonable because of a small reason. And that’s okay, as long as you can come to terms with it and accept yourself for who you are. And if the others around you can’t do that, then they’re not the folks you should be talking to.
AN ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC BOOK. 5/5 Wagging Tails