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.
I really, really, really liked this novel. It completely sucked me in. Wow.
I didn't know much about OCD before reading this book. Sure, my dad and me have a coupel of OCD-like habits, but it's not like we're ever going to need medication about it, because it's not OCD, it's just quirks. When I started reading about Sam, I found it really hard to imagine living like her and having such a mind. I think it's the first thing that really drew me to the story, because I wanted to know more about how she deals with everything. With her talks with her mom and her psychiatrist, I felt like I could see her evolve and understand her better. I think the author did a really good job with that.
I really liked how Sam distanced herself from her friends, because she realized she would be better without them, but then she realized she didn't have to stop being their friend altogether. Even thought their friendship is evidently not the way it used to be, they can still be good together and I feel like it would've been too much if their friendship had been completely ruined by it. I think realizing that about her friends made Sam grow a lot as a person and with her OCD.
I absolutely loved Poet's Corner. I thought it was so intimate, relaxing and interesting that I immediately wished there had been such a place at my school. I liked how no one judges in there, how you can read something if you feel like it, but you're never pressured and how everyone seemed to be comfortable with each other. I read the poems and songs out loud, just like they do, and it brought them to life, making me feel like I was in Poet's Corner, too.
Andrew is such a sweet character. I enjoyed seeing the differences he made in Sam's character, even though he's clearly not the only reason why she evolved. Their relationship is adorable and I loved seeing them interact with each other. I'm glad it was done realistically, especially since he didn't magically "cure" her, like relationships do in unrealistic novels. It was clear to me that everything, from going to the pool to making new friends, helped Sam with her OCD.
I really wasn't expecting what happened at the end. I was confused, hurt and I even felt betrayed, because it was such a big plot twist. I really liked it, though. I think it turned this novel into a much different one, deeper than what it looked like at first, but I like being surprised. I found it hard to read about such a thing, though, especially since I had found no warning sign.
I absolutely loved this novel and I would recommend it to every living person. In fact, I've already talked about it to so many people that it's hard to believe it's only been a couple of days since I read it. Seriously, go read it.