As some of you may know, book club started a few weeks ago. The first book that we decided to share with everyone is We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. Both me and Sophie have enjoyed LaCour’s previous works, and could not wait to get around to reading her latest release…meaning it’s book club pick of the month! As an added book club bonus, it made sense that we both wrote reviews of the books we are reading, giving each of our views on the same book. Considering book clubs are about talking about books, why not? I finished We Are Okay before Sophie so my review will come first. I hope you’re enjoying book club and enjoying the first read!
Title: We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Publication Date: 14th February 2017
Summary: 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.
As i said in the intro, LaCour is an author that i have admired for some time now. I’ve read a few of her previous novels and devoured them. She’s such a wonderful writer who’s stories demand to be felt. And oh boy did i feel this one.
Before anything else, i’d like to make the point that i truly did feel this novel with every part of me. Marin (the protagonist) is a character so similar to myself at times that i found the story to become eerie. I adored her as a person, and some aspects of her life are very far from my own. However, some of the scenes with Mabel really did hit me hard. And this did effect my interpretation of the story. Some of their scenes together played out just as memories from my past did, meaning that a lot of the story brought back some very unwanted memories for me. It did make the rest of the story a little hazy for me, it was a very weird feeling and something i didn’t like (relating to a character that much).
However, i loved the story-line, the intricacies of Marin’s life and her relationships with those around her. It was very refreshing to see an extremely ‘true’ relationship between two females. The origins of how it started and where they ended up. It’s very rare in a novel that you see the aftermath of a failed relationship, not matter what the genre of the characters. It’s very reassuring for people who have been in relationships with those close to them to have a story exploring the aftermath. This is a subject that LaCour handled with grace and dignity. It was wonderful.
The novel is more about the characters story than plot, as a lot of LaCour’s novels are. It’s really nice to occasionally sit and read a story based around the characters and not the latest adventure they go on. The characters are very well rounded, thought out and have a great story behind them. They were written realistically, with touches of eccentricities which always helps in the making of a good story. Whereas there is a huge sense of absence of family within this story, at the same time there is a family presence around. This might sound crazy, but it is true. Whilst you learn about the troubles of Marin’s life, you are very aware there are many people around her that care for her, and love her as their own. This is such a nice feeling, especially someone who loves a family novel as much as i do.
I think i will forever read LaCour’s stories, she’s a truly wonderful author who creates amazing stories. The fact that i related to We Are Okay in such an extreme way that it played with my emotions and brought up memories shows her talent as an author. I cannot praise this story enough, it was thought provoking and quick to get through. I adored it.