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.
This book was such a blessing, and there’s a story behind it. I kept seeing this one on NetGalley and I was going between requesting it and not because I already had a couple other books to read. I don’t actually remember requesting it, but one day I got an email saying it was approved so I downloaded it anyway. I started reading it just because and originally I was just going to read the first couple chapters, maybe 50 pages, and I have to say I was not all that interested, but something nagged me at the back of my mind so instead of studying hardcore for finals I somehow found myself always picking up this book. When my first final was done I just sat down for a bit and was just going to read a bit, next thing I knew it was 4:30 am. I also had an email sitting in my inbox from my supervisor back home asking me if I wanted to be the Arts and Entertainment Editor next year. I had never even thought about it let alone applied for it. I instantly rated it on Goodreads a 3.5 because I still was not sure about it. I decided to change my rating though. For me this was just the right book at the right time.I needed a little nudge to say yes to the position and for me, this book was it.
This book is full of hope, overcoming fears, becoming yourself and taking the plunge. The main characters were so well rounded it was almost as though they were all in the room with me, sometimes I wanted to leave them be, sometimes I wanted to slap them. or say encouraging words depending on the scenario.
The one thing I am still conflicted about is AJ and Sam. AJ was a boy Sam and the “Crazy Eights” teased so much he switched schools when they were younger. I absolutely adore those two. I have little areas highlighted saying “eep!” or other things of that sort. They bring out the best in each other and I know he’s going to be somebody’s book boyfriend in the future. However, I do not completely understand how anyone could fall in love with someone who tortured them that much. I know, I know, it was a long time ago and Sam has changed so much, but as much as I love it I can’t be 100% behind that relationship.
Sam found very healthy ways to cope with her OCD, she swam, wrote poetry and eventually learned to stand up for herself. Then she realizes just how crazy she is and that one scene my eyes flew through and I had to go reread it. It was the perfect twist. I loved it and everything after it.
I do think if it was not the right time I would not have liked it as much, or stuck with it because I do have notes from the beginning saying “this sounds like my early writing” because it was listed what Sam was wearing, but that’s not really fare because that’s actually in a lot of books. I also had little inconsistencies marked and went back a couple times to find they really weren’t inconsistencies at all, I had just forgotten the parts.
This is not a book I would hand out to just anyone, this is a book that should just find you or be thrust in your hands at the moment you need it most.