We Are Okay

We Are Okay

by Nina LaCour

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Nina LaCour's award-winning, achingly beautiful novel is now available in paperback!

Includes a new foreword by Nicola Yoon, #1 bestselling author of The Sun is Also a Star and Everything, Everything–


Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award

“Short, poetic and gorgeously written.” –The New York Times Book Review
“A beautiful, devastating piece of art." –Bookpage


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.
 
An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.

Praise for We Are Okay 

Nina LaCour treats her emotions so beautifully and with such empathy.” —Bustle

★ “Exquisite. —Kirkus

★ “LaCour paints a captivating depiction of loss, bewilderment, and emotional paralysis . . . raw and beautiful.” —Booklist

★ “Beautifully crafted . . . . A quietly moving, potent novel.” —SLJ

★ “A moving portrait of a girl struggling to rebound after everything she’s known has been thrown into disarray.” —Publishers Weekly

★"Bittersweet and hopeful . . . poetic and skillfully crafted." —Shelf Awareness

“So lonely and beautiful that I could hardly breathe. This is a perfect book.” —Stephanie Perkins, bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss

As beautiful as the best memories, as sad as the best songs, as hopeful as your best dreams.”
—Siobhan Vivian, bestselling author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World

“You can feel every peak and valley of Marin’s emotional journey on your skin, in your gut. Beautifully written, heartfelt, and deeply real.” —Adi Alsaid, author of Never Always Sometimes and Let’s Get Lost

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142422939
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/26/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 14,734
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Nina LaCour is the author of the widely acclaimed Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You. She is also the coauthor, with David Levithan of You Know Me Well. Formerly a bookseller and high school English teacher, she now writes and parents full time. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Nina lives with her family in Martinez, California. www.ninalacour.com

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Before Hannah left, she asked if I was sure I’d be okay. She had already waited an hour past when the doors were closed for winter break, until everyone but the custodians were gone. She had folded a load of laundry, written an email, searched her massive psychology textbook for an­swers to the final exam questions to see if she had gotten them right. She had run out of ways to fill time, so when I said, “Yes, I’ll be fine,” she had nothing left to do except try to believe me.

I helped her carry a bag downstairs. She gave me a hug, tight and official, and said, “We’ll be back from my aunt’s on the twenty-eighth. Take the train down and we’ll go to shows.”

I said yes, not knowing if I meant it. When I returned to our room, I found she’d snuck a sealed envelope onto my pillow.

And now I’m alone in the building, staring at my name written in Hannah’s pretty cursive, trying to not let this tiny object undo me.

I have a thing about envelopes, I guess. I don’t want to open it. I don’t really even want to touch it, but I keep telling myself that it will only be something nice. A Christmas card. Maybe with a special message inside, maybe with nothing but a signature. Whatever it is, it will be harmless.

The dorms are closed for the monthlong semester break, but my adviser helped me arrange to stay here. The admin­istration wasn’t happy about it. Don’t you have any family? they kept asking. What about friends you can stay with? This is where I live now, I told them. Where I will live until I graduate. Eventually, they surrendered. A note from the Res­idential Services Manager appeared under my door a couple days ago, saying the groundskeeper would be here through­out the holiday, giving me his contact information. Anything at all, she wrote. Contact him if you need anything at all.

Things I need: The California sunshine. A more convinc­ing smile.

Without everyone’s voices, the TVs in their rooms, the faucets running and toilets flushing, the hums and dings of the microwaves, the footsteps and the doors slamming—without all of the sounds of living—this building is a new and strange place. I’ve been here for three months, but I hadn’t noticed the sound of the heater until now.

It clicks on: a gust of warmth.

I’m alone tonight. Tomorrow, Mabel will arrive and stay for three days, and then I’ll be alone again until the middle of January. “If I were spending a month alone,” Hannah said yesterday, “I would start a meditation practice. It’s clinically proven to lower blood pressure and boost brain activity. It even helps your immune system.” A few minutes later she pulled a book out of her backpack. “I saw this in the book­store the other day. You can read it first if you want.”

She tossed it on my bed. An essay collection on solitude.

I know why she’s afraid for me. I first appeared in this doorway two weeks after Gramps died. I stepped in—a stunned and feral stranger—and now I’m someone she knows, and I need to stay that way. For her and for me.

Only an hour in, and already the first temptation: the warmth of my blankets and bed, my pillows and the fake-fur throw Hannah’s mom left here after a weekend visit. They’re all saying, Climb in. No one will know if you stay in bed all day. No one will know if you wear the same sweatpants for the entire month, if you eat every meal in front of television shows and use T-shirts as napkins. Go ahead and listen to that same song on repeat until its sound turns to nothing and you sleep the winter away.

I only have Mabel’s visit to get through, and then all this could be mine. I could scroll through Twitter until my vision blurs and then collapse on my bed like an Oscar Wilde character. I could score myself a bottle of whiskey (though I promised Gramps I wouldn’t) and let it make me glow, let all the room’s edges go soft, let the memories out of their cages.

Maybe I would hear him sing again, if all else went quiet.

But this is what Hannah’s trying to save me from.

The collection of essays is indigo. Paperback. I open to the epigraph, a quote by Wendell Berry: “In the circle of the human we are weary with striving, and are without rest.” My particular circle of the human has fled the biting cold for the houses of their parents, for crackling fireplaces or tropical destinations where they will pose in bikinis and Santa hats to wish their friends a Merry Christmas. I will do my best to trust Mr. Berry and see their absence as an opportunity.

The first essay is on nature, by a writer I’ve never heard of who spends pages describing a lake. For the first time in a long time, I relax into a description of setting. He describes ripples, the glint of light against water, tiny pebbles on the shore. He moves on to buoyancy and weightlessness; these are things I understand. I would brave the cold outside if I had a key to the indoor pool. If I could begin and end each day of this solitary month by swimming laps, I would feel so much better. But I can’t. So I read on. He’s suggesting that we think about nature as a way to be alone. He says lakes and forests reside in our minds. Close your eyes, he says, and go there.

I close my eyes. The heater clicks off. I wait to see what will fill me.

Slowly it comes: Sand. Beach grass and beach glass. Gulls and sanderlings. The sound and then—faster—the sight of waves crashing in, pulling back, disappearing into ocean and sky. I open my eyes. It’s too much.

The moon is a bright sliver out my window. My desk lamp, shining on a piece of scratch paper, is the only light on in all one hundred rooms of this building. I’m making a list, for after Mabel leaves.

read the NYT online each morning

buy groceries

make soup

ride the bus to the shopping district/library/café

read about solitude

emeditate

watch documentaries

listen to podcasts

find new music . . .

I fill the electric kettle in the bathroom sink and then make myself Top Ramen. While eating, I download an au­diobook on meditation for beginners. I press play. My mind wanders.

Later, I try to sleep, but the thoughts keep coming. Ev­erything’s swirling together: Hannah, talking about medita­tion and Broadway shows. The groundskeeper, and if I will need something from him. Mabel, somehow arriving here, where I live now, somehow making herself a part of my life again. I don’t even know how I will form the word hello. I don’t know what I will do with my face: if I will be able to smile, or even if I should. And through all of this is the heater, clicking on and off, louder and louder the more tired I become.

I turn on my bedside lamp and pick up the book of essays.

I could try the exercise again and stay on solid ground this time. I remember redwood trees so monumental it took five of us, fully grown with arms outstretched, to encircle just one of them. Beneath the trees were ferns and flowers and damp, black dirt. But I don’t trust my mind to stay in that redwood grove, and right now, outside and covered in snow, are trees I’ve never wrapped my arms around. In this place, my history only goes three months back. I’ll start here.

I climb out of bed and pull a pair of sweats over my leggings, a bulky sweater over my turtleneck. I drag my desk chair to my door, and then down the hall to the elevator, where I push the button for the top floor. Once the elevator doors open, I carry the chair to the huge, arched window of the tower, where it’s always quiet, even when the dorm is full. There I sit with my palms on my knees, my feet flat on the carpet.

Outside is the moon, the contours of trees, the buildings of the campus, the lights that dot the path. All of this is my home now, and it will still be my home after Mabel leaves. I’m taking in the stillness of that, the sharp truth of it. My eyes are burning, my throat is tight. If only I had something to take the edge off the loneliness. If only lonely were a more accurate word. It should sound much less pretty. Better to face this now, though, so that it doesn’t take me by surprise later, so that I don’t find myself paralyzed and unable to feel my way back to myself.

I breathe in. I breathe out. I keep my eyes open to these new trees.

I know where I am, and what it means to be here. I know Mabel is coming tomorrow, whether I want her to or not. I know that I am always alone, even when surrounded by people, so I let the emptiness in.

The sky is the darkest blue, each star clear and bright. My palms are warm on my legs. There are many ways of being alone. That’s something I know to be true. I breathe in (stars and sky). I breathe out (snow and trees).

There are many ways of being alone, and the last time wasn’t like this.

Morning feels different.

I slept until almost ten, when I heard the groundskeeper’s truck on the drive below my room, clearing the snow. I’m showered and dressed now; my window lets in daylight. I choose a playlist and plug Hannah’s speakers into my com­puter. Soon an acoustic guitar strum fills the room, followed by a woman’s voice. Electric kettle in hand, I prop open my door on the way to the bathroom sink. The song follows me around the corner. I leave the bathroom door open, too. As long as I’m their only inhabitant, I should make these spaces feel more like mine.

Water fills the kettle. I look at my reflection while I wait. I try to smile in the way I should when Mabel arrives. A smile that conveys as much welcome as regret. A smile with meaning behind it, one that says all I need to say to her so I don’t have to form the right words. I shut off the faucet.

Back in my room, I plug in the kettle and pick up my yellow bowl from where it rests, tipped over to dry, from last night. I pour in granola and the rest of the milk from the tiny fridge wedged between Hannah’s desk and mine. I’ll be drinking my breakfast tea black this morning.

In seven and a half hours, Mabel will arrive. I cross to the doorway to see the room as she’ll see it. Thankfully, Han­nah’s brought some color into it, but it only takes a moment to notice the contrast between her side and mine. Other than my plant and the bowls, even my desk is bare. I sold back all of last semester’s textbooks two days ago, and I don’t really want her to see the book on solitude. I slip it into my closet—there’s plenty of room—and when I turn back, I’m faced with the worst part of all: my bulletin board without a single thing on it. I may not be able to do much about my smile, but I can do something about this.

I’ve been in enough other dorm rooms to know what to do. I’ve spent plenty of time looking at Hannah’s wall. I need quotes from songs and books and celebrities. I need photographs and souvenirs, concert ticket stubs, evidences of inside jokes. Most of these are things I don’t have, but I can do my best with pens and paper and the printer Hannah and I share. There’s a song Hannah and I have been listen­ing to in the mornings. I write the chorus from memory in purple pen, and then cut the paper in a square around the words.

I spend a long time online choosing a picture of the moon.

Keaton, who lives two doors down, has been teaching us all about crystals. She has a collection on her window­sill, always sparkling with light. I find the blog of a woman named Josephine who explains the healing properties of gemstones and how to use them. I find images of pyrite (for protection), hematite (for grounding), jade (for serenity). Our color printer clicks and whirrs.

I regret selling my textbooks back so soon. I had sticky notes and faint pencil scrawls on so many of the pages. In history we learned about the Arts and Crafts movement, and there were all these ideas I liked. I search for William Morris, read essay after essay, trying to find my favorite of his quotes. I copy a few of them down, using a different color pen for each. I print them out, too, in various fonts, in case they’ll look better typed. I search for a redwood tree that resembles my memories and end up watching a mini-documentary on redwood ecosystems, in which I learn that during the summertime California redwoods gather most of their water from the fog, and that they provide homes to clouded salamanders, who have no lungs and breathe through their skin. I press print on a picture of a clouded salamander on bright green moss, and once the printer stops, I think I have enough.

I borrow a handful of Hannah’s pushpins and arrange everything I’ve printed and written, and then step back and look. Everything is too crisp, too new. Each paper is the same white. It doesn’t matter that the quotes are interesting and pictures are pretty. It looks desperate.

And now it’s almost three already and I’ve wasted these hours and it’s becoming difficult to breathe because six thirty is no longer far in the future. Mabel knows me bet­ter than anyone else in the world, even though we haven’t spoken at all in these four months. Most of her texts to me went unanswered until eventually she stopped sending them. I don’t know how her Los Angeles life is. She doesn’t know Hannah’s name or what classes I’ve taken or if I’ve been sleeping. But she will only have to take one look at my face to know how I’m doing. I take everything off my bulletin board and carry the papers down the hall to the bathroom in the other wing, where I scatter them into the trash.

There will be no way to fool her.


The elevator doors open but I don’t step inside.

I don’t know why I’ve never worried about the eleva­tors before. Now, in the daylight, so close to Mabel’s arrival, I realize that if they were to break, if I were to get stuck inside alone, and if my phone weren’t able to get service, and no one was on the other end of the call button, I would be trapped for a long time before the groundskeeper might think to check on me. Days, at least. Mabel would arrive and no one would let her in. She would pound at the door and not even I would hear her. Eventually, she would get back in her cab and wait at the airport until she found a flight to take her home.

She would think it was almost predictable. That I would disappoint her. That I would refuse to be seen.

So I watch as the doors close again and then I head to the stairs.

The cab I called waits outside, engine idling, and I make a crushed ice trail from the dorm lobby, thankful for Han­nah’s spare pair of boots, which are only a tiny bit small and which she forced on me when the first snow fell. (“You have no idea,” she told me.)

The cab driver steps out to open my door. I nod my thanks.

“Where to?” he asks, once we’re both inside with the heat going strong, breathing the stale cologne-and-coffee air.

“Stop and Shop,” I say. My first words in twenty-four hours.

The fluorescent grocery-store lights, all the shoppers and their carts, the crying babies, the Christmas music—it would be too much if I didn’t know exactly what to buy. But the shopping part is easy. Microwave popcorn with extra butter flavor. Thin stick pretzels. Milk chocolate truffles. In­stant hot chocolate. Grapefruit-flavored sparkling water.

When I climb back into the cab, I have three heavy bags full of food, enough to last us a week even though she’ll only be here three days.

The communal kitchen is on the second floor. I live on the third and I’ve never used it. I think of it as the place girls in clubs bake brownies for movie nights, or a gathering spot for groups of friends who feel like cooking an occasional dinner as a break from the dining hall. I open the refrigera­tor to discover it empty. It must have been cleaned out for the break. Instructions tell us to label all of our items with our initials, room number, and date. Even though I’m the only one here, I reach for the Sharpie and masking tape. Soon, food labeled as mine fills two of the three shelves.

Upstairs in my room, I assemble the snacks on Han­nah’s desk. It looks abundant, just as I’d hoped. And then my phone buzzes with a text.

I’m here.

It isn’t even six o’clock yet—I should still have a half hour at least—and I can’t help but torture myself by scroll­ing up to see all of the texts Mabel sent before this one. Asking if I’m okay. Saying she’s thinking of me. Wondering where the fuck am I, whether I’m angry, if we can talk, if she can visit, if I miss her. Remember Nebraska? one of them says, a reference to a plan we never intended to keep. They go on and on, a series of unanswered messages that seize me with guilt, until I’m snapped out of it by the phone ringing in my hand.

I startle, answer it.

“Hey,” she says. It’s the first time I’ve heard her voice since everything happened. “I’m downstairs and it’s fucking freezing. Let me in?”

And then I am at the lobby door. We are separated by only a sheet of glass and my shaking hand as I reach to turn the lock. I touch the metal and pause to look at her. She’s blowing into her hands to warm them. She’s faced away from me. And then she turns and our eyes meet and I don’t know how I ever thought I’d be able to smile. I can barely turn the latch.

“I don’t know how anyone can live anywhere this cold,” she says as I pull open the door and she steps inside. It’s freezing down here, too.

I say, “My room is warmer.”

I reach for one of her bags carefully, so our fingers don’t touch. I’m grateful for the weight of it as we ride the eleva­tor up.

The walk down the hallway is silent and then we get to my door, and once inside she sets down her suitcase, shrugs off her coat.

Here is Mabel, in my room, three thousand miles away from what used to be home.

She sees the snacks I bought. Each one of them, some­thing she loves.

“So,” she says. “I guess it’s okay that I came.”

Customer Reviews

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We Are Okay 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It shows grief and betrayal and love and despair in the most beautiful and honest way ever If you’re looking for something that you would love to read, this is the book.
Anonymous 16 days ago
A story that is heartwrenching at times but ultimately optimistic about our capacity to move forward with the support of those around us. Young Marin recounts and confronts the past she has been running from by welcoming an old friend she hasn't spoken to in months. Over the course of her friend's visit she reveals why she felt the need to disappear following the death of her only living guardian, her grandfather. She begins to confront her grief as well as the secrets he and those around him kept from her.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Uiytgvggggcgy
Anonymous 4 months ago
Ok so in the reviews i see lots of reviews complaning about the lezbians and gays and trans that are in this book but if they would just realize what month it is they would relaize that this book for pride month
Bookyogi 8 months ago
A story about breaking apart and coming together. This book is raw, heartbreaking, lovely, brief, lonely, heartfelt, sad, simple, complicated, surprising, accepting, painful, tragic, loving, forgiving and healing.
RJGM More than 1 year ago
I read this while house-sitting, waiting for the teenaged child of the homeowner to come back, and... I'm really, really glad I finished it before she got home. I didn't cry a LOT, at least by my standards, but I was fighting tears for about half the book. It's so, so good; I had to put it down every 1-2 chapters because it HURT. The writing is poetic. The characters are complex. The issues faced are real. I wanted to give the narrator a hug. :( I seriously can't say a single negative thing about this book, considering that I love fiction-induced emotional pain. I kind of want to read it again, but instead I'll probably go buy all of Nina LaCour's other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful and haunting read that will leave you wanting more.
JMTJTC More than 1 year ago
"I was okay just a moment ago. I will learn how to be okay again.” Genre: Young Adult. Number of Pages: 256. Perspective: First. Location: New York and California. This book is about Marin, who leaves for college and ignores everyone from her past after her grandfather dies. Her best friend tracks her down to get her to come home and to find out what really happened. Every once and awhile you find a book that can just consume all of your emotions. This was it. It honestly took me a while to get into it because I kept getting distracted with other books. But once I actually focused on reading it, I read it all in one sitting. It also won my Best Book Award. This book is about love, loss, grief, death, mental health, LGBTQ, growing up, and so much more. If you skimmed through it, there are so many nuances you would have missed. The plot is smaller than most young adult books, but every detail was intentional and so meaningful. It is more about the emotions than the plot (but I thought the plot was beautifully sad too). I always cry during movies, but I rarely cry during books; this book made me cry. I don’t have a lot else to say about this book, but I think everyone needs to read it. Especially if you don’t understand homosexuality. I love how there are no labels. Everything is just about love and raw emotions. Love is love is love is love. To read the rest of my review here: http://judgingmorethanjustthecover.blogspot.com/2018/03/we-are-okay-nina-lacour.html
DanTDM More than 1 year ago
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
I reserved We Are Okay from the library on a whim after reading an article on Goodreads about Nina LaCour. I was only familiar with Nina LaCour because she co-wrote You Know Me Well with David Levithan. I really enjoyed that book, so I decided I should read one of her novels. This book is quite sad. Marin’s grandfather died right before she was supposed to start college, and she’s not dealing with it very well. She escaped to NYC early and hasn’t spoken to anyone from home in a few months. It’s now Christmas break, and her best friend, Mabel, has come to the city to try to bring her home. The details of what happened in the past – between Mabel and Marin, with Marin’s grandfather, with her mother – are revealed slowly throughout this short novel. Something Marin discovered before she left California has her question everything she’s ever known. Nothing much happens in this book. It is very character-driven, but there was something beautiful about this book. I didn’t love it, but I did enjoy it. Sometimes reading something sad can be just right. http://opinionatedbooklover.com/review-we-are-okay-by-nina-lacour/
Armori More than 1 year ago
I enjoy summer novels, despite how bittersweet they could be, and I also enjoy winter novels because they can be sweet and fluffy. This book combines summer and winter perfectly and I just ;aksldjf This book was intriguing, touching, and overall beautiful. I couldn't stop underlining and highlighting words and passages. The writing style is very lyrical and the love story is new and complex yet fresh to me and I enjoyed it. I loved everything about this story. I think it overall deals with loss and grief, moving on, and love--both romantic and familial. It was all just very real and I loved it.
alyssayuri More than 1 year ago
i picked this book up because June was Pride Month. I already read HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR, and I thought to read a lesbian character or a female bisexual or a transgender. basically, i want to read a book where the narrator is a girl. because I've been reading mostly gay male teens. I guess because this was not the book I was feeling to be read or something, I started this book quite slow. even with that, the emotions in this book I have to applaud because they are very compelling, I'm not much of a fan of drama or sadness. I mean, I do read them. but this book brought out some lonely feelings in me. which is good because it means the author has amazing effective writing. but bad for me because I didn't want to feel that way. i personally think the story was quite dragging. but when I got to the part where Marin tells Mabel everything, things started to pick up for me until I finished it. like i said this brought some sadness in me, which, like Marin, made me remember my own memories... as i mentioned, very effective writing! and as the story goes, this effectiveness was constant which makes me want to dive in more. I liked the resolution and the ending. i just did not see that coming. Actually, if I made guesses on how the book goes, I would be totally off. I just find the unpredictability of this book very refreshing. for me the story was good. and let's just leave it at that.
EllenRozek More than 1 year ago
A gorgeous, gut-wrenching story of loss, loneliness, and learning to let other people in. Although WE ARE OKAY doesn't have much of a plot, I was captivated regardless by both the delicate specificity of the prose and by Marin's journey toward recovery. Once the flashbacks were introduced I found my footing in a hurry, and when I reached the final page I couldn't help wishing that I had more time with these characters. Watching them grow into their new lives and new selves was a joy, even when it was extraordinarily painful. Nina LaCour is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors, and she can break my freaking heart anytime she wants.
MissRamirez More than 1 year ago
“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.” The novel We Are Okay – written by Nina LaCour – seems to encapsulate the romanticized and over-the-top plot every teen book appears to have; however, besides its melodramatic moments, We Are Okay stands out from other teen books on the shelf. Being a rather short book – only 234 pages – Nina LaCour concisely creates the story of Marin, a young college girl with a rough past and an empty present. Although the book is quite short, at times, the novel feels stretched out, as if LaCour is just extending the pages to write longer chapters. This does, however, give her time to truly develop the very few characters in the novel. One thing that can be commended about the work of LaCour is her ability to successfully write with such fluidity. Her word choices, sentence structure, and grammar all provide for a well-written novel that accentuates the feelings and emotions of Marin, who is telling the story in first-person. This is felt specifically in the last chapters of the book, where most of the drama seems to happen while in the middle of the book it just seems like it is a discombobulation of words that fit together, but don’t add much important detail to the story. In the novel, LaCour constantly switches between the point of view as Marin in the present to the point of view of Marin in the past. Although this was not much of a struggle as far as getting lost, in the beginning I didn’t realize until I was in the middle of the next chapter, which without my knowing, was talking about her past. However, I think that this idea of switching between past and present is an interesting twist to the story and does add to the plot because you can really see how Marin got to the place she is in. One of the major positives of this novel is its plot twist. Throughout the book, it seems like everything happens as expected, and the “twists” that occur are things that would normally happen in a book for teenagers. However, at the end – which is the best part of the book, in my opinion – We Are Okay hits the readers with that true wow factor, which is the main reason I enjoyed reading this novel. Although it didn’t have that real “je ne sais quoi” as many books do in the beginning, the real excitement happens at the end, which makes reading it worthwhile. Overall, the novel We Are Okay is, in fact, okay. I think that the story is truly beautiful, and the word choice is phenomenal, but I think that the execution of the novel is a bit off. At times, the words LaCour uses can accidentally dramatize its original meaning, and seem as if it doesn’t quite “fit.” But for such an amazing ending, We Are Okay really leaves me with that kick that other books can’t hit.
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
Some facts before I begin: 1) This is my first Nina LaCour book (ducks in shame) 2) I bought into the hype surrounding this book when I requested a review copy (and it TOTALLY lived up to it) Short and Sweet? This was a hauntingly beautiful book, filled with prose that hit you and characters so complicated and deep that you won’t be able to stop thinking about them. Here are some of my thoughts: 1) The writing in this book was BRILLIANT. It managed to subtly shout across to me, through each word, raw pain and grief and loneliness. “Someday is an open word. It could mean tomorrow or decades away.” 2) I went into this book not knowing what to except – it sounded good, but vague. I’d heard everyone saying it would break me, and so while I was anticipating reading it, I honestly had no idea what I would get from this book. “We were miraculous. We were beach creatures. We had treasures in our pockets and each other on our skin.” 3) If you’re an “I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie” person, (like all self-respecting bookworms are) then you should know that this book is SMALL. It’s a little over that 200 pages, and I thought it would take me no time at all to finish it, but it was HARD to get through a book that made me feel so much. This book requires deep breaths, pauses to process everything you’re feeling and maybe even a few tissues. “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.” 4) I LOVED LOVED LOVED Marin and Mabel. I love them as friends, I loved them as individuals and I loved them together. I love the way Nina LaCour put their relationship to words – as something real and painful and happy and like two people discovering a whole new part of themselves and it was so beautiful to see how they got together and at the same time so heart-breaking to know how it all ended. “When I think of all of us back then, I see how we were in danger. Not because of the drinking or the sex or the hour of the night. But because we were so innocent and we didn’t know it. There’s no way of getting it back. The confidence. The easy laughter. The sensation of having left home only for a little while. Of having a home to return to.” 5) THE PAIN. Like I said, this book was hard to read because you could FEEL EVERY OUNCE OF GRIEF that poured out of all the characters. I was sitting there, totally immersed in the story of two girls I knew for about fifty pages and AAH I felt everything. I couldn’t recommend this book more.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars This is how I felt about this novel, I loved the story but I didn’t care for Marin. Okay, I said it. It’s a weird combination because Marin really makes up the whole story but that is how I felt after reading it. The story flashes back and forth between the current time period and the end of her senior year. I enjoyed this small flip of the clock as I really got to see the full picture. In the present time, Marin is living in her college dorm, alone, as everyone else has left for holiday break. Flashing back, we see Marin living with her Gramps before heading off to college. This novel is heavy with emotion, the words drawing themselves out slowly across the pages, and each relationship was vital and significant. I thought Marin’s relationship with her Gramps was strange: they got along great, he tried to instill life’s lessons on her, but their house seemed to be divided and there were issues that were never addressed. I had to wonder if Gramps was really okay, was there more problems that were not addressed. Marin felt like an island to me, she felt distinct and aloof, even with her own Gramps. As the novel became more emotional, it became all about Marin and nothing about the larger picture which I thought include many other individuals. I thought she was quick to blame others when she should have had been looking in the mirror. I also thought, she was running from herself on many levels. I did enjoy the relationship between Marin and Mable, it might have been too as Mable wanted her part in it but it takes two to make it work. Marin sees this relationship having many fronts but again I think Marin thought only of herself. Marin, Marin, Marin, the world is bigger than you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Nina LaCour's words, so as soon as I saw We Are Okay, I downloaded it. I had absolutely no idea what it was about. Marin is a wonderful character. She's spliced into these two versions of herself and I loved getting to know the summer and the winter Marin. The setting of the dorm and the time changing chapters were a perfect way to show how isolated and changed she's become. There are some heartbreaking reveals and yet the ending is so so so hopeful. The prose is gorgeous {but of course, it's Nina} and the friendship between Marin and Mabel is broken and so honest. If you're not reading Nina's words, you should be. And you should start with this one, because I think it's the best thing she's written. **Huge thanks to Dutton Books and Edelweiss for providing the arc free of charge**