Publication date : February 14th, 2017
Publisher : Dutton Books for Young Readers
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 356
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
CW: Depression, grief, loss, mention of suicide, drowning.
This was my introduction to Lacour’s works and WHAT AN INTRODUCTION INDEED. I’ve had her books (more precisely Everything Leads to You) on my radar since I first joined the book community and I somehow didn’t get around to reading anything by her until earlier this month. And this anything is We Are Okay. Which blew me away. It’s so heartbreakingly, breathtakingly amazing and I could not put it down. Although I had to. Because studying and exams. Anyhoo, I will stop fangirling before it gets out of hand and we shall start with the review.
The writing is beautiful, not in a in-your-face kind of way. It feels like a soft hug, albeit with the content of the story, it’s a heartbreaking hug, but an amazing soft hug nonetheless. It’s delicate, simple yet intricate. I was really surprised, not gonna lie. Lacour has a way of weaving the simplest words into beautiful prose that keeps you asking for more. And the emotions seep through it so authentically and realistically, I felt like I was there with Marin while she was processing her loss and heartbreak, and as hard and overwhelming as it was, the book reads very fast, so that helped with my reading experience.
We are Okay is written from Marin’s POV alternating between the present and flashback POVs and in my opinion that only makes the story more wholesome and helps grasp everything that’s happening and how it came to happen and see them happen almost in parallel, yes that’s what it is, two parallel timelines while seeing how one affects the other. Does that make sense? Because in my brain it does so I’m going with it haha.
Right off the bat the tone of the book is sad and heavy so you know what to expect from it early on, even the before timeline is tinted, it’s not as happy as it was supposed to be, or as it was when it happened because Marin’s perspective is changed by her grandpa’s death and the discoveries that came with it, she questions a lot of things and it shows not only in the way she’s handling things present time but also in the way she retrospectively views past events.
As the story progresses and things unravel, it becomes more and more heartwrenching. There were times when I needed breaks to recover and then continue reading. We see how she came to hit rock bottom and then seeing her progress at the end, no matter how small it may seem to some, was the most beautiful ending I could’ve asked for. The reality of it made my heart ache.
Marin is such a realistic character. I loved (although love may be the wrong word) reading about her experiences, some of which resonated with me. She clearly deals with depression. The word is never used. She doesn’t get a diagnosis, but a lot of the symptoms are there and some of it mirrored things and thoughts I’ve had. She’d find routine tasks daunting, she closed herself off to everyone and everything from her past, and I thought that portrayal was authentic and real. It obviously won’t resonate with everyone but I know of people it has helped a lot. She’s honestly amazing as a character, her arc and development were so true and raw that I just wanted more of her by the end.
Then we have Mabel, her best friend with whom she had a brief romantic relationship right before she left everything behind and I honestly loved her. She didn’t tiptoe around Marin and act as if she was broken but she also gave her the space she needed and didn’t push her. Their time together started very awkward then as time went by they fell into this routine of finding their footing with each other, it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t even like before, but here again it was real. Their relationship is messy and complicated and seeing them get back to this fragile state of balance was amazing to read about.
This is a heartbreaking, albeit hopeful character driven story. And we all know how much I love those by now, so I couldn’t help but other this one. And I have to say, it was a strong introduction to Nina Lacour’s works and I can’t help to pick up more.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read We Are Okay? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.