Another YA masterpiece! I really really REALLY enjoyed this book! I believe that this book has the power to change the mindsets of the teenagers that read it: writing and literature can change your life and to take a close look at the people you associate yourself with. As someone who has had a history of mental illness, I believe that this book really paints a pretty good picture of the struggles that people with mental illness go through and how they believe they can be perceived by others around them, especially their peers who do not understand their struggles.
Samantha McAllister is part of the Eights, a group of popular girls at her high school. The girls that make up the Eights have all been friends since they were in elementary school, so they all know each other really well except Samantha has been able to keep a secret from them: she has Purely-Obsessional OCD where she has a constant stream of negative thoughts in her mind all the time and she is unable to turn them off. Samantha feels like an outsider until she finds a student at school named Caroline. Caroline is part of Poet’s Corner, a close-knit group of misfit students who meet together in the basement of their high school and share some of their deepest and darkest feelings without the worry of feeling judged. Samantha also begins to fall for the guitar playing poet that she used to bully with the Eights. Sam is finally starting to feel “normal” around her new friends rather than an outsider within the Eights. Sam, however, encounters something in her psyche that has her questioning everything.
Being a high school teacher, I see and hear about some of the struggles that modern-day students go through on a daily basis. I believe that students will really find the character of Samantha and the other characters relatable or they might know someone who fits the mold. Stone does a beautiful job describing and illustrating these characters and their relationship to each other. Highly recommended read!