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.
Tamara Stone deals with mental illness in a very respectable way. I love how it also dealt other issues, like the idea of perfectionism and also standing up for yourself, because rounds out the plot, and adds depth to it. There wasn’t really much the drama wasn’t the central focus in this book. Rather, it was more about how Sam was coping with the drama, and how she overcomes her fears. There was a nice story arc in this novel – the blend of drama, romance and friendship was really seamless. Also, there wasn’t a love triangle at all. There was so much going on already in this book, it wasn’t necessary, and I’m glad the author didn’t add one in. At times, there was a little too much going on and it got a little messy, but other than that, the plot wasn’t very overwhelming.
All the characters have their own unique backstory, but I love how quirky that made them all, particularly those who were a part of Poet’s Corner. The characters are all people who you’d encounter in life and realistic, which was also a nice touch. They were all very likeable (with the exception of a few). The whole poet’s corner fascinates me. It was a really nice touch which pulled the plot altogether, and makes it stand out against other books. It’s so inspiring, thought-provoking and motivating.
This book is a really quick read, and extremely well researched. It’s inspiring, captivating, and beautiful. I would highly recommend this book to everyone, because I think it deals with a lot of issues teens deal with today – anxiety, and mental illness, as well as friendships, and finding your own voice. It definitely spreads awareness about mental issues in today’s society, and I think that’s the most important message in this book.