Books that help ease the anxiety

Two books explore the effects of severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder on the lives of two girls

Sam McAllister is your typical popular high school junior. Or is she?

Courtesy of

Sam McAllister is your typical popular high school junior. Or is she?

Bianca Jackson, Staff Writer

Courtesy of NY Times
Raina Telgemeier’s new memoir addresses her own struggles with stomachaches and severe anxiety.

Have you ever wondered how mental disorders affect young people’s day to day lives or how younger people cope with their mental disorders? Well, Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone and Guts by Raina Telgemeier intimately explore the effects of severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder on the lives of two girls who learn to gather the courage to conquer their fears.

Every Last Word is a Young adult realistic fiction novel published in April of 2012 about a girl named Samantha McAllister who is just the same as any other popular junior at high school, or so everyone thinks. She has a secret that nobody knows: Sam has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and is consumed by a stream of dark thought and worries that she can’t stop.

Sam finds herself questioning every move she makes and stresses about being found out by her friends who would reject her at the first sign of a wrong outfit, attitude, or even crush. In front of her peers at school, she appears like every other teenage girl, but in private, she experiences continuous dark thoughts, intense stress, anxiety and worry, and lastly, an obsession with the number 3.

Summer is about to end and Sam finds herself struggling with the idea of going back to school and letting go of her relaxed and carefree self, which she refers to as “Summer Sam.” When she’s at school her OCD only gets worse and her friendships with the “Crazy Eights,” her friend group, causes her OCD to flare up more frequently. Every Last Word goes through Sam’s everyday life struggling with her OCD and her struggles to keep her friends from finding out and rejecting her.

Guts is a graphic memoir published last fall about young Raina Telegmeier learning to face and conquer her fears. The memoir starts out with Raina waking up in the middle of the night with a bad stomach ache. She finds out that her mom also has a stomach ache, so they come to the conclusion that they might she have just caught the flu from Raina’s younger sister, Amara.

The next morning, Raina goes to school where she deals with usual highs and lows of friendships: frenemies and shifting  friendships. She realizes that her stomach ache isn’t going to go away, so she adds it to her list of worries about school and friendships. The next day, she realizes that something is wrong, and that it is more than just sickness.

Throughout the book Raina better understands the cause of her stomachaches and throwing up, and as she struggles with public speaking, food fears, throwing up, enemies, and friendships, she learns to cope with all of these challenges.

You might be wondering, if Every Last word was published 8 years ago, is its information still valid and useful today? The novel can still help teenagers dealing with the same challenges of anxiety and OCD.

Both Every Last Word and Guts have a positive message to share. Their protagonist Sam and Raina, learn to cope with their mental health issues through friends and family and therapists, and they learn to share their stories with others.

You should read these books because they give insight into the lives of two teenage girls who struggle with issues similar to those of someone you may know. These books could help you to learn how to help that person.

I also would recommend these books to you if you are a teenager who struggles with Anxiety or OCD because these book could be very useful with helping you to learn to cope with your mental health issues. I would also recommend both Every Last Word and Guts to you if you know someone who may be struggling with anxiety or OCD.