We Are Okayby Nina LaCour
Published on February 14, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
Throughout this entire novel I wasn’t sure how I felt about it and that’s never happened before! I’m usually able to tell how I feel about the book within the first 50 or so pages, but with We Are Okay, it took me until I sat down to write this review to figure out what I was going to rate it. I really liked We Are Okay, don’t get me wrong, there was just something about it that didn’t give me that WOW factor I was looking for. And with a cover like that, I was expecting to be wowed for sure!
The writing was elegant and enlightening, but I felt like it dragged a bit. The entire novel took place over the course of 3 days (I mean it’s only 230 pages) but not enough happened. Maybe it was because they never really left Marin’s dorm room except for a few key scenes or maybe it was the fact that the entire story didn’t have a very important plot line…all I know is that I needed just a *little* bit more. I think those are my only real grievances, however. It was still a very well written and it is a book that discusses grief and anxiety very realistically.
I liked that LaCour conveyed Marin’s anxiety so well. You could feel it in every page, every sentence. I could see myself in her. If someone I cared about passed away, I’m not sure I would have handled the situation much better. All of Marin’s (I keep wanting to spell her name Mairin because that’s how my friend spells it lol) feelings were raw and real. I liked the flashbacks more than I liked her present day though. I loved seeing her friendship with Mabel and her non relationship relationship with her grandfather. You could really tell what kind of person Marin was by all of her actions. It was incredible to see it conveyed like that on paper.
I also loved the incredible lesbian and bi representation. It was so subtle but you just *knew* and I loved that. There was no labeling. No one had to spell it out for anyone, but you could still tell. The relationship between Marin and Mabel before Marin disappeared, was incredibly cute. It was definitely a summer fling, but I wanted it to be more than that. However, I’m glad that Mabel was dating someone else. It eliminated the cliche that all characters have to end up together. (I’m having that issue with a few series I’m reading right now and it’s frustrating. Like can’t they just be friends??)
I will recommend this book to others, though if you’re not all that into contemporaries it may not be for you. It is an elegant novel about losing the only family you know and learning to find your way through grief. There is so much learning that happens in this book and I think it is a good one for anyone struggling with the same thing.