Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour Book Review blog header

Published: February 14th, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers | Series: N/A | Length: 234 pages | Genre: YA contemporary | Source: Borrowed from library | Possible Triggers: death, depression

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Summary 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.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went into We Are Okay. I hadn’t really looked into it but decided pretty randomly to pick it up at the library when I saw it, knowing that I’d seen many book bloggers rave about it. I was not at all disappointed. Although it was missing that extra something to make it a 5-star read for me, We Are Okay was an excellently written story about grief, love, and moving on in spite of pain.

One of the first things you’ll notice when reading We Are Okay is that LaCour’s writing is absolutely beautiful. She has a very unique writing style and it’s incredibly gorgeous to read. Picking quotes to include in my review felt like an impossible task because there were so many that I could’ve chosen and it was hard to narrow it down. I don’t even usually pay attention to things like this – I usually prefer to just focus on the actual story – but I couldn’t help but be drawn in by LaCour’s prose.

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I’d probably consider the main focus of the story to be Marin and Mabel’s relationship. Of course, Marin’s grief over her grandfather is also a focal point, but I really think Marin and Mabel’s relationship is what the story is truly about. I thought, again, that it was expertly written. Their relationship felt real to me; it didn’t escape Marin’s struggles following her grandfather’s death untouched and unscathed. Instead, their relationship is strained as Marin pulls away and Mabel struggles to try and pull her back and help her understand that she isn’t as alone as she feels. But at the same time, Marin has hurt Mabel and Mabel doesn’t treat her the same way as she used to. All of this results in what feels like an incredibly realistic relationship – one that has gone through its trials and tribulations but remains regardless.

As I already kind of mentioned, We Are Okay tackles a lot of different subjects, most notably grief, acceptance, and moving on. LaCour does a great job of handling these topics sensitively and of showing how friends can help you through dark times. Mabel’s whole family is so kind and understanding towards Marin and while I don’t want to give too much away about the ending of the book, seeing Marin finally move on past her grandfather’s death and learn to again open up to the people she once held close was wonderful. I really truly think Marin’s story will be very comforting and provide some much-needed hope to readers who have recently lost someone important to them.

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I was pleasantly surprised by We Are Okay. With beautiful prose, LaCour expertly tackles sensitive subjects with realistic portrayals of grief, relationships, and family. If you’re a fan of YA contemporary and looking for a quick but touching read, We Are Okay is a good bet. Just have a box of tissues on hand.


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14 thoughts on “Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

  1. I totally agree with you about Nina Lacour’s writing. I don’t think she gets nearly enough credit for the flow of her prose. We Are Okay wasn’t my favorite by her, but I think it was a wonderful exploration of grief. And, like you, I think this is a book that will resonate with a lot of readers! Great review, Kourtni!

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  2. I’m so happy you enjoyed this one! I was not expecting to love it as much as I did, which was a lot. I ended up relating to so many of the things Marin was going through. I also adored Nina Lacour’s writing style – it was so beautiful. Great review, Kourtni!!

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    • I remember you loving this one which is actually one of the reasons I decided to pick it up, haha. I was surprised by how much I liked it, too! LaCour’s writing is gorgeous – I’ll definitely be reading more of her books in the future! Thanks, Lauren! 🙂

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  3. This has been on my TBR for aaages but I haven’t managed to find the time to read it – shame, because I did love Nina LaCour’s other book and was quite excited for this one! I’m happy you enjoyed it – I do love portrayals of family and grief from time to time and the cover is beautiful (which is always a plus point for me tbh). I hope I enjoy it as much as you did. 💞

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