Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dual Review: Every Last Word & For the Record

Hi, my loves! Long time no talk, eh? As you know, for the past year, I've been struggling with a huge, huge blogging slump + work and uni have been keeping me hella busy, but lately I've been feeling the urge to blog and I especially felt that as I was filling out answers to a tag that my friend Lisa tagged me to do. Can't wait to share it soon! Next week I'll be back with a blog tour for my favorite series in this entire universe, but today I have a dual review for you and I can't wait to see if we share any common thoughts(✿^▿^)

Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Published: June 16th, 2015
Read: October 14th to 21th, 2015
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

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.
There aren't enough words to describe how much I loved this book! Every Last Word is an important novel that shares Samantha's story of suffering from OCD, more importantly, the obsessive part of OCD. She is a wonderful heroine to follow, because she cares so much and I loved seeing her grow more into a person who isn't acting by others' approval, but does things she wants and likes to do for herself. Very proud of her!

I really loved loved loooooved these following aspects of the story:

  • friendship between Sam and Caroline
  • the idea of The Poet's Corner
  • everyone in The Poet's Corner
  • Sam x her love interest (it's not mentioned in the blurb so I won't spoil it to you if you are the kind like me who doesn't always want to know who they are right off the bat)
  • the therapist-patient relationship and how supportive Sam's family was; it's the perfect portrayal of how it should be -- everyone working towards the same goal, trusting each other and not abusing that trust in any way!
  • SWIMMING! If you didn't know, I went swimming for 8 years. I was on our school's swimming team and we took part in competitions + some individual competitions I've been to. I quit practice in my senior year of high school because I wanted to pursue other things, but this novel reminded me of how much I loved swimming and how much I'd love to pick it up again for myself. It was described very well and Sam's passion for it was very endearing.
  • sex positivity ✓✓✓ ٩(˘◡˘)۶
  • the poems
  • the awareness this novel spreads

Also, I have to mention, I didn't see the twist coming???? I saw it coming like right before it happened but HOLY SMOKE! That was brutal and so unexpected. Note @ Tamara: this was cruel and I cried a lot; way to pack a punch like this! I liked how important this part was regarding the whole scheme of things. The author note was so important and super emotional, so don't miss that for sure!

I never really thought about ableism slur that much to be honest, but this book shows us why ableism language is bad, because by using the "i'm so OCD about this and that" and "my OCD side is the reason for ..." when we don't really suffer from OCD -- it lessens the weight and struggle of people who do struggle from OCD.

*If you want to read more about ableism slurs, head over here and here; also, this post gives you quirky words you can use instead of the term OCD when referring to your analytical, order-loving, sometimes-obsessive self.

Anyhow, this novel was everything I hoped it would be an more! So much love and respect for the author for tackling this story so gracefully and painting an important, well-written portrayal of the struggles of someone with OCD. With an authentic voice Every Last Word is bound to please a lot of YA contemporary fans!

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
Stars: ★★★★

Meet the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Title: For the Record
Author: Charlotte Huang
Published: November 10th, 2015
Read: Oct 29th to Nov 5th, 2015
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
*An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review*

If Almost Famous were a YA novel... a raw, honest debut celebrating music, friendship, romance, and life on the road.

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like... until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule... Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

I wasn't aware of this novel before Sue pointed it out to me and since it sounded extra cool, I downloaded an ARC from Netgalley. I can tell you that it was an enjoyable read, but definitely not among my favorites of the year.

I applaud for the music industry parts, especially the way the author described the feeling of being on stage and growing into being a live artist for masses. However, there was so much of it that by 50% I really didn't know what the moral or point of this story was going to be or where we were heading?

I liked the crew for the most part, especially the band, but I would have liked to have gotten to know them more. I feel as though we don't know them enough as individuals? I would have liked to have seen more background, more character building etc. They each had their defining characteristics in personality and looks, but I was hoping for a bit more depth to them.

I liked how Lauren was a nice girl and that Chelsea wasn't mean to her either. I'm still not over Mandy though; WHAT EVEN WAS THAT? Sigh. She got on my nerves a lot, because it was always about her. Always. Plus the thing she did.. double sigh. I didn't really care about any of the romances, though I can see how they would be endearing to a lot of people. I liked the ending scene though, even if it was highly predictable.

The writing was very simple and a bit jumpy here and there. Also, there were two things I didn't like: a. slutshaming (there was quite a bit of this); b. Lauren was described as "Asian" and it felt like she was being blanketed under the Asian term which is sad, because, as we all know, Asians are not all the same, but vice versa, Asia is rich with different countries, culture and people. It would have been nice to know what Asian descent she is. (I doubt I missed this defining aspect, but I could have. In that case, my apologies.)

As a whole, it's a pretty decent effort and I'm eager to see what else Huang has in store, but this particular novel unfortunately wasn't my cup of tea per se.

Overall rating: 2.8 out f 5.0
Stars: ★★★

Meet the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for an ARC. My thoughts are my own
and in no way did this affect my thoughts.


  1. Long time no see but it's so good to see you back and reviewing some of my favourite books of 2015. I loved Every Last Word, it is one of my favourites and I was addicted to the storyline. I've read some really positive and thought provoking books like this. If you loved this one then I would totally recommend Am I Normal Yet? Brilliant book. And For the Record, I have just read this and it brought me out of my reading funk, I really loved the musical and rock aspect, but I was really waiting for her to dump Lucas and get it on with Beckett ;) Great review my lovely. :)

    1. Indeeeeed, my friend! So good to be back and at least feel like I can someday get the hang of this again :) I haven't read this book, in fact, I don't think I've even heard of it? Hah. I'll definitely look it up ;) And I'm so glad that For the Record worked out for you! Mwhaha Beckett was a cutie pie <3

  2. I'm so so so happy you loved Every Last Word. It was truly one special book and hit me right in the feels! I usually see book twists coming but OMG this twist so so evil and made me really sad. I loved the love interest too. What a sweetheart! And yes to everything you said about ableism language. The "I'm so OCD" comments drive me crazy because, no just because you're clean and tidy doesn't mean you have OCD. >.< I'm glad you brought that up in your review!

    We felt similarly about For the Record. She's definitely good at describing the music scene. Did you see that Pete Wentz is her friend?!? I saw him tweet it the other day and I was surprised! Anyways, I wish the characters were stronger. It could have been a really really good book.

    Lovely reviews, Siiri!

    P.S I may have gotten a little giddy when I saw your note at the top!! <3 <3

  3. SIIRI!!!! *hugs a million times* Hah I talk with you all the time so it's not like I miss your physical presence, but I'm so excited that Lisa has kicked a little sparkle in your direction.

    I'm definitely excited to read Every Last Word as well, especially your note about the family and therapist part, because it gets misrepresented a lot in YA books about mental health apparently :( And emotional books are my favorite, no matter how much I complain, I can't wait to talk to you about this book when I read it!

    And For the Record, I've seen mixed feelings from most people, although I still haven't read it *guiltily glances at NG pile* I'm a little less inclined to read it now, but I probably shall one day...anyhow I'm happy to see this and I can't wait for your Halsey tag post!

  4. I’m so glad you are back, Siiri! I had no idea that you are a swimmer! It wonderful when you see an aspect of your life portrayed well in a book. I had similar experience with I’ll Meet You There, where the main character danced and paper craft (my two passions). I haven’t heard about For the Record, I think I may check it out, despite your low rating, I have a soft spot for celebrity romance.

  5. SIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIII! *pounces on you* It makes me ridiculously happy to have you back, you have been missed! I hope this next year finds your blogging slump giving way to excitement once again (though I completely understand the slump, I've been in one for a while now) and that your school work load lightens up a bit!

    I have Every Last Word on my shelf but I haven't read it yet which is clearly a fail on my part. I'm slightly worried about that twist though! I may need you to cheat and tell me what it is ahead of time ;-)

  6. I was pleasantly surprised to see an email notification that you have a new blog post!!! And a dual review at that! Yippee!!! OMG, I'm so with you on the blogging slump. So, I bought Every Last Word and I don't quite remember if it was from a recommendation or if it just sounded too interesting to pass up. It's weird though because I just looked and I didn't even have it in my tbr or marked as a book that I already had in my Kindle. Hmmmmm...I bought it back in September, so I'm here scratching my head. Could have been an impulse buy. Or maybe it was on sale for $0.99 or something. Anyway, I haven't read it yet, but I'm so excited that you love it!! That's usually an indication that I'll like it too :D Sorry you didn't like For the Record. It's the first I heard of it and it may not be going on my list :/