Sam has OCD, heavier on the obsessive than the compulsive. She’s prone to dangerous thought spirals that leave her reeling and feeling out of control. She and her family have successfully hidden her disorder from her group of friends, the Crazy Eights. She’s been friends with these girls (now down to five) since Kindergarten and worries that having OCD would ruin her reputation as one of the popular girls. Then she meets Caroline. Caroline doesn’t care what other people think of her. She leads Sam to a new place called Poet’s Corner. It’s a hidden room below the school and what she finds there just might “change her life.”
I LOVE THIS COVER. It’s so simple, but when you read the book, it really makes sense. As the story begins, I had the feeling that this book was somewhat reminiscent of a Sarah Dessen book, but a little darker–meaner almost. I think that initial impression was pretty true. Our main character feels a little lost but then meets a new group of friends who help her to find herself…yeah that sounds familiar haha. I absolutely love the idea of Poet’s Corner. I’m not the best writer and I would be absolutely HOPELESS at poetry, but it seems like a place where I could just absorb the genius coming from everyone else. Also, those walls sound AMAZING. Reading about Poet’s Corner makes me wonder what hidden clubs existed at my own high school. Who knows?
I liked all of the characters, even the Crazy Eights. I thought everyone had some depth to them even if they were a pretty minor character. The fact that Poet’s Corner is a place where everyone could share really personal things made it so that Sam (and us as readers) got to know the participants really well, really fast. The only criticism I have on the character choices there is that I feel like there should have been a pair of siblings? I don’t know…with eight people it seems like there should have been a pair of siblings in there and I feel like that would have changed the dynamic of the group a bit and had some interesting performance possibilities. But really, that’s so minor and I’m 100% positive that I’m the only one who’s had that thought.
AJ was a little too good to be true in my opinion. He forgave Sam really fast for what she did to him in elementary school. Maybe my perception would be different if we’d gotten a chance to read Sam’s apology poem, but we don’t. So now I just feel like she tormented him when they were little and now he’s just like “Whatever” and then they’re together. Doesn’t really make sense to me. Another thing, the poem that Sam starts to read when she gets up onstage for the first time…I was POSITIVE that she was going to get back up onstage eventually and read it to the group and I was really excited to read it! But then she didn’t. So…I feel like that was a missed opportunity on the author’s part. Lastly, I liked Sam’s relationship with her family. It seemed really solid. I just wish we got to see more of them because they seemed really awesome.
Overall, I liked this book a lot. It felt real and raw and there were a lot of emotions involved. I feel like it gave me a different perspective on people who have OCD. I really liked Sam’s therapist and how she relates Sam’s condition with the man who could hear in color. Also, did not see that twist coming. WHOA.
Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate. Some brief, strong language.
Sexual Content: Mild. One scene in particular, but not explicit.
Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.