Contemporary (Teen)

Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

A YA contemporary story about a girl dealing with depression, grief, and a secret she isn't ready to face.

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We Are Okay book cover

We Are Okay

by Nina LaCour

Published January 14, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0525425896

Data from Goodreads

Summary (Goodreads): 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.

My Review: Beautifully written but bland story

I don’t always like reading novels that are sad or deal with grief, but the beautiful cover and the softness of the writing style really had me interested. But when I actually read this novel, I didn’t actually like it.

The Pros: What worked for me

  • The writing was beautiful, with a softness and poetry that erally resonated with me. The author could make anything sound achingly beautiful and I really did appreciate the author’s talent in that aspect.

The Cons: What I didn’t like

  • Nothing happens in this story. And no, I do understand that this is a story about grief, loss, and gaining the courage to face difficult truths. But literally nothing happens in the novel. Nothing. There are millions of inconsequential details mentioned that just bog down an already slow story. There are just no impactful moments.
    • Side note: I know that this book is about depression. And depression is not fun. Believe me, as someone who suffers from depression, I know all about what it can be like for Marin. I’m not expecting a story that is going to give me twists or thrills. However, I don’t want a story where nothing happens.
  • Marin’s character was also not my favorite. I don’t always need a super hyper female character to be the lead but she vascillated between having no real voice to showing teen angst. For a novel that is all about character development, I didn’t really see that happen. Maybe it was just me.
  • The eventual reveal for Marin’s avoidant behaviour let me down. I felt like I was missing something major. She had all of this loneliness, all of these feelings of betrayal… over this? I thought it would be something a lot more upsetting considering the extent of Marin’s behaviour.

Maybe I’m the only one who felt this way about this book. Tons of people seem to love this story and find it very poignant. But for me? This was just a beautifully written novel that told me nothing. For those reasons, I have to give it 1.5/5 stars.

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