Lamorinda Teens Read Every Last Word


Sheila Teker, Staff Writer

The library began distribution of the 3rd annual Lamorinda Teens Read book, Every Last Word, on February 24. The choice highlights the district’s recent efforts to address mental health.

The story follows a female protagonist, Samantha McAllister, who suffers from Purely-Obsessional OCD and intrusive thoughts and seeks to find friends behind her current toxic (but popular) group. When nobody appears to understand her, or she’s hiding her mental health-related issues, Sam finds comfort in writing and sharing poetry.

Librarian Sarah Morgan said, “We chose this book because we wanted a different theme. Last year, we focused on race and racial tension and communities in Dear Martin, and the year before we focused on immigration and refugees in Salt to the Sea. We also, this year, wanted a female protagonist. So, those were just our 2 ideas, and the setting in a high school made the book more accessible.”

Morgan added that, since a theme of Every Last Word is mental health and wellness, she plans to host discussions about it at Lamorinda libraries through April 9. The author, Tamara Ireland Stone, is from Orinda, so she will also be visiting Campolindo to conduct various activities related to the book.

Sophomore Erin Koziel said she enjoyed reading the book, especially because it is “provocative and really makes you try to understand things about mental health issues – what people might be dealing with that we don’t hear about.”

Sophomore Megan Mitchell agreed. “I think that the insight into a person with OCD was really interesting and eye-opening,” said Mitchell.

Sophomore Amelia Graves explained that it is “important that people with OCD are getting representation in book form. We should be knowledgeable about what people are suffering from, and appreciate the book for this opportunity.”

Koziel added that she appreciated how the characters were realistic, despite being a book about teenagers written by an adult — it goes beyond typical teenage stereotypes.

“I want teachers to read it, I want students to read it, your parents, our counselors; I usually give a copy to the police chief and he has his crew read the book; I give 1 to the mayor – so the whole community’s reading it,” said Morgan.