Book Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

by - 1:26:00 PM

 Title: We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Pages: 240
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: 14 February 2017

From 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."

If this book is any indication about how my reading month is going to be, then I'm in for a fantastic time. I wanted to read this the second I saw the cover, because honestly this book has a gorgeous cover, and the pages between the cover are just as beautiful as I had hoped they would be. 

We Are Okay follows Marin, a girl who's left her old life behind and tried to start over at college in New York. She hasn't spoken to anyone from her old life since she ran away and no one knows what really happened before she left. Not even her best friend Mabel. But when Mabel comes to visit, Marin is forced to face everything she left behind and confront the loneliness that's made her heart its home.

Plot:
This book is not a very plot-driven book, in my opinion, but rather a character driven one. That being said, I did like the storyline so very much. Marin is preparing to spend an entire month alone at her college dorm for Winter break but just has to get through a visit from her old best friend first. The two characters spend most of the book together in Marin's dorm with a snow storm raging outside. There is a strong feeling of isolation that I think played a huge role in the story. I think it, along with the history between Marin and Mabel, really allowed the reader to feel closer to the two girls and almost helped them confront the things that have been left unsaid. There was a lot of backstory about before Marin ran away that was woven in with the present story of Marin and Mabel in the dorm that helped the reader to understand the history between the girls and I found myself thoroughly enjoying both parts of the story. The main underlying plot seemed to be Marin finally confronting and accepting what happened and I think it was played out beautifully. It was heartbreaking watching past Marin go through the things she did and it was hard seeing how it all changed her in the present. There was a point in the book where Marin is basically crushed (metaphorically) and I could just feel myself wanting to hug her and help her through. While this wasn't a book that focused on an obvious plot, the subtle story that was brought out as the book progressed was beautiful and made me feel so many emotions all at once. Marin's story is one that unfolded so well and was absolutely stunning in its delivery.

Characters:
Like I said above, I really feel like this was a character driven story. Marin was such a lovable and angsty character and I couldn't get enough of her. Her story broke my heart but the growth that happened once Mabel showed up was incredible. You get to know these two so well because they're completely isolated in the dorm and have pretty much nothing to do but talk. At the beginning, you know something happened to Marin, but you don't know exactly what that something is. As the story progresses and Marin spends more time with Mabel, she starts opening up more and you also get glimpses at Marin's past and learn about the events that lead up to Marin ending up in New York. The difference between past Marin and present Marin was painful to read about on an emotional level, because she used to be so happy and in love but is now completely alone and almost emotionless. But the end of the book is a huge turning point for her character and I am not ashamed to say that I cried when it happened. She was sassy, funny, full of angst and sadness, and I absolutely loved her. Mabel, on the other hand, I wasn't sure about. I just couldn't figure out how I felt about her while I was reading, and I still can't figure out how I feel about her after finishing the book. I did love the friendship/relationship between her and Marin, because I loved seeing how happy Marin was when she was with her. Even as present Marin who didn't talk much, you could really see how happy she was being around Mabel after all the time they spent apart. I didn't enjoy how Mabel was almost trying to pressure Marin into finding a girlfriend/partner to be with in New York, just because I felt like she was almost trying to bury Marin's obvious feelings for her. I just felt very ugh about Mabel. I did, however, adore her parents. They were so loving towards Marin when she needed it most and they gave me all of the feelings at the end of the book! Marin's grandfather is an automatic no and I won't even get into why, just read the book. If I think about all of the characters in general, they were well-written and enjoyable to read about as a whole. Individually, I obviously favored Marin over all of them, and I'm sure anyone who reads this book will (hopefully) feel the same!

Writing:
This was one of the most beautifully written books I've read in 2017. It flowed like a peaceful river and was so calming to read. There were several times that i just sat there in awe of how elegant this book was and couldn't believe I was finally reading it. The atmosphere Nina LaCour built was incredibly easy to get lost in and I loved the feeling of isolation and how it felt like it made the story that much stronger. Because of it being just the two characters together, they were forced to finally confront their past and try to make things right between them again. Everything about this book was incredible, but the writing took it to the next level with its captivating descriptions and lovable main character, Marin. From beginning to end, the writing drew me in and had me hooked, and it's easily the highlight of this book.

We Are Okay is easily the best book I've read in March and I can already tell it's going to be a favourite of 2017! Contemporary is my least favourite genre but this book completely stole my heart with no problems at all. I highly recommend this book for those who love contemporary books and those looking to take a chance on the genre. I promise, you won't be disappointed!


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