Genre: Teen/YA Contemporary
Publisher: Disney Book Group/ Disney-Hyperion
Published: June 16, 2015
Book Summary (Per NetGalley):
Ages 12 and upIf 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 the 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.
Sweet with a twist, this book should be a movie. This book has a depth to it and several big secrets or twists that I was not expecting, but that has made this book my favorite story of 2015 thus far. Each character plays an important role in the overarching story and in Sam's quest to be more "normal". Normally I quickly can say who my favorite character in a book is, but I am not quite sure this time..as I type this I am literally flicking through my head between Carolina, Sam, Sue and AJ! The introduction to OCD and the focus on the O brings a high school story of popular crowds, bullying, etc. into a new light. I enjoyed the attention to details about the ideas of real friendship, people changing, forgiveness, the strength and dependence of a family, romance and more.
The book summary suggests an age of 12 and up for the readers and I would agree. I almost would say perhaps a bit older since the book does cover some very serious and deep issues regarding divorce, cancer, suicide and more. Now I do not want you to think that means the book is nothing but deep and dark, there are quite a few humorous sections, sweet sections and areas where I just felt like cheering for the strength and character growth that Sam and a few others demonstrated as I read the story. At the end of this book I felt in love with the characters, the story and wondering if my high school had a secret room. However, I also left with a sense of how important it is to treat others with respect and dignity, be kind because we truly don't know what others are dealing with in their personal lives and a sense of awe over how many diverse and beautiful talents everyone has when given an arena to feel comfortable, confident and safe. I loved this book and am extremely grateful I was given a copy to read/review.
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Disclaimer: I did receive this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.