‘WE ARE OKAY’ by Nina LaCour
“You go through life thinking there’s so much you need … until you leave with only your phone, your wallet and a picture of you 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.
‘WE ARE OKAY’ by Nina LaCour is a realistic, young adult contemporary book that describes an honest simplicity towards grief, despair and betrayal. Nina LaCour’s unique perspective transformed her debuting novel into a sculptured and beautiful piece of artwork.
From her New York college dorm, Marin quietly upholds a new life whilst struggling to leave herself and her memories that she ran from behind. Her lonely thanksgiving break is delayed by a visit from her best friend (ex-girlfriend) Mabel; whom she has ignored in the months since her life came crashing down in a tidal wave. The underlying truth about the event that caused Marin to run from San Francisco with her only belongings being what she guarded in here hands was dragged out slowly throughout the novel. Nina LaCour’s blossoming ideas captured lonely and raw grief, eating itself away in the achingly bright main character, Marin. This is until Marin discovers the truth; allowing her to finally breath. Through the overwhelming feeling of support and concern from her best friend Mabel, Marin finally accepts the loss of her lovely, quiet and secretive grandfather.
Spoiler alert!!! LaCour portrays a new light on the perfect yellow bowls that Marin bought at a pottery shop. Her potted plant that has grown and in need of a larger pot. If her existence is now scattered, it’s not without colour, or life guiding her to blossom into a new young woman that has learnt from these life experiences. Through our constant flow of tears, we absolutely loved Nina LaCour’s literacy reference used when the waitress at the diner flipped an open sign to closed; leaving the open side face Marin and Mabel. Marin stated if it was a short story, that would mean something. We found this reference to be humorous and self-aware! I’m also a fan of the diversity depicted of how Nina does not let you ignore Marin or her developing identity. Through the technique and movement from Marin’s present to past memories, this allowed us to understand her grandfather and discover secrets through her relationships. An improvement that could be made would be that the author could have focused on the development of the plot more. However, we fell in love with Nina LaCour’s focus on a variety of powerful emotions that ushered a never-ending fountain of tears.
After falling in love with this absolutely beautiful cover, we couldn’t wait to start flipping through pages. This was an extremely fast read which focused on forgiveness, hope and coming to terms with the past. ‘WE ARE OKAY’ by Nina LaCour will make you feel grief within it’s pages! We can all connect and identify ourselves with these inspiring characters as we all have or will experience loss in many aspects of our lives.
Be prepared to bawl your eyes out and be internally grateful as ‘WE ARE OKAY’ is an extraordinary piece of work by an author who continues to redefine and uplift her reading genre! This is a must read for those who enjoy realistic contemporary YA books!
Book Rating: 4/5 stars.