Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
I found this book to be immensely interesting to read. It was an endearing and provocative venture into mental illness (specifically OCD) and does well to represent this particular illness with dignity. I have had the privilege, so far, to read some very good books that tackle mental illness with poise and grace and I am happy to count this among those. It is very easy to make an illness a plot point and though Sam’s obsessions and invasive thoughts did play a large role in her decisions it was never in a way that was unbelievable or inconsistent with the character.
Tamara did a great job of weaving a lot of tough subject matater (such as depression, anxiety, mental health, speech impediments, death, and suicide) into ELW. I appreciate how she has shed light on OCD as a disorder. OCD has been widely marginalized through figurative language and society creating this false idea that people who live with OCD are perfectionists. It was humbling to read Sam’s point of view and to read her thoughts and understand the compulsions and obsessions she creates.
The poetry elements and Poet’s Corner are so wonderful and really makes me wish I had something like that when I was in school. This book does a great job at showing the reader that if you aren’t being appreciated by your friends you can always find new ones, you just need to be willing and accepting of them as much as they should be of you. I like that writing is shown as a therapy of sorts because it is truly cathartic to write out your feelings either in poetic form or just stream of conscience style.
Finally, though I found some bits too easily resolved I don’t begrudge this story for it’s ending. I think it was appropriate and made sense in the grand scheme of things. This book definitely opened my eyes a bit more to the struggles of OCD and many other mental health plagues that affect so many people. This book does a great job of instilling a sense of hope, resilience, and curiosity in its readership.
I hope that others will consider picking up this book because I think it is an important read and can open the door for plenty of intense commentary on mental illness.