- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (February 14, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525425896
- ISBN-13: 978-0525425892
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 136 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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We Are Okay Hardcover – February 14, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Her first semester of college behind her, Marin stays alone in the dorms over break, even with the threat of a snowstorm looming, rather than return to San Francisco, where bad memories lurk. Her best friend Mabel comes to stay with her, and over the next few days, Marin contemplates the events of last spring and summer and deals with her complicated relationship with Mabel. Slowly, readers learn more about Marin's life: the surfer mother who drowned when Marin was young, the father she never knew, the loving grandfather who raised her but whose concealed secrets kept a wall between them, and the painful events that sent Marin fleeing San Francisco. LaCour's use of settings is masterly: frigid and desolate upstate New York reflects Marin's alienation, while vibrant San Francisco evokes moments of joy. Though there's little action, with most of the writing devoted to Marin's memories, thoughts, and musings, the author's nuanced and sensitive depiction of the protagonist's complex and turbulent inner life makes for a rich narrative. Marin is a beautifully crafted character, and her voice is spot-on, conveying isolation, grief, and, eventually, hope. With hauntingly spare prose, the emphasis on the past, and references to gothic tales such as The Turning of the Screw and Jane Eyre, this is realistic fiction edged with the melancholy tinge of a ghost story. VERDICT A quietly moving, potent novel that will appeal to teens, especially fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Zarr.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Praise for We Are Okay
“A meditation on surviving grief, We Are Okay is short, poetic and gorgeously written…. The power in this little book is in seeing Marin come out on the other side of loss, able to appreciate a beautiful yellow-glazed pottery bowl and other people’s kindnesses, and to understand that she might one day have a girlfriend and a future. The world LaCour creates is fragile but profoundly humane.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A beautiful, devastating piece of art. . . .The title hints at a happy ending, but the journey toward it passes through some of the darkest corners of the heart. Be prepared to be gutted—and grateful. We Are Okay is an extraordinary work by an author who keeps redefining and elevating her genre." —Bookpage
“Nina LaCour treats her emotions so beautifully and with such empathy. Of course, we'd expect nothing less from the stunning LaCour.” —Bustle
★ “Exquisite.” —Kirkus, starred review
★ “LaCour paints a captivating depiction of loss, bewilderment, and emotional paralysis . . . raw and beautiful.” —Booklist, starred review
★ “Beautifully crafted . . . . A quietly moving, potent novel.” —School Library Journal, starred review
★ “A moving portrait of a girl struggling to rebound after everything she’s known has been thrown into disarray.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★"Bittersweet and hopeful . . . poetic and skillfully crafted." —Shelf Awareness, starred review
“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
MORE PRAISE FOR NINA LACOUR
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (2010); 2010 William C. Morris Honor Book
★ “LaCour makes an impressive debut with an emotionally charged young adult novel about friendship and loss.” — Publishers Weekly
“LaCour strikes a new path through a familiar story, leading readers with her confident writing and savvy sense of prose.” — Kirkus
“The book is written with honesty, revealing one's pain after the loss of a loved one.” — SLJ
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (2013); Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2012; A Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book
★ "This is about the inside and outside of characters, the past and future of their lives--and it is astonishing." —Booklist
"Quietly compelling . . . well rendered, bittersweet and hopeful." —Los Angeles Times
★ "A rich tapestry that will make readers confident that they are in the hands of a master storyteller. . . . . Hauntingly beautiful." —Kirkus
★ "LaCour skillfully draws connections between art and life as she delves into the heart of her characters." —Publishers Weekly
★"Bittersweet and hopeful . . . poetic and skillfully crafted." —Shelf Awareness
★ "LaCour's writing style is laid-back, low key, and totally on point." —VOYA
Everything Leads to You:
★ "Underneath the privilege surges real pain, longing, and feeling in a way that makes it easy to imagine this novel as a film." — Publishers Weekly
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What does it mean to love?
And to be loved?
What is family?
What does no longer having family mean?
What if you never had the family you thought and never realized until it was too late?
College freshman Marin is alone. Physically. Emotionally. Metaphorically. Her mom died when she was a toddler. Raised by her recently departed, loving but distant grandfather, Marin truly is without family. She's alone in the dorms over the winter holidays, awaiting a visit from Mabel, the best friend she's been ignoring since she fled San Francisco after her grandfather's death.
Nina LaCour has written such an achingly haunting story of loneliness and grief. Marin is hurting so much, she can barely speak. She's ignored Mabel's calls, texts, emails and letters for months. Now, face to face, Marin still can't express her pain. We would all be so lucky to have a friend like Mabel, understanding, patient and loving.
WE ARE OKAY is more a character study through grief and enlightenment than a plot driven story. I don't think everyone will love LaCour's latest masterpiece as much as me, depending on mood and the type of stories that move them.
The further into the story I read, the more hooked I was and the more I worried about a certain negative outcome. I rooted for a specific positive ending, although figured it would be unlikely based on the direction of the narrative. I never could have predicted the resolution.
WE ARE OKAY is a quiet story dripping with emotion. It's the type of book I know I will read and reread for deeper depth and understanding each time. I believe this may be one of those stories I reread every year or so, for the beauty of the words, story and message.
If WE ARE OKAY sounds like your type of book, you will love it. Even if not now, there may be a time in your life where it speaks to you.
This story starts with Marin who, we know, is suffering from some kind of grief and afraid of being alone. But it's Christmas break at her university and since she has nowhere else to be she is staying at the dorms all by herself for a month or so. She half wants to/is half afraid of snuggling up in her bed and never getting up again. But her old friend Mabel is coming to visit for 3 days so she can't do that just yet.
Mabel is a reminder of Marin's past. Marin hasn't returned any of Mabel's messages for months but now Mabel will be in the same room with her and she will have to deal with that past and with her lingering feelings for Mabel, whatever those may be.
This is a short novel and not a lot happens because this is not a plot-driven book. But it packs a powerful punch emotionally. It's about grief, it's about dealing with finding out someone is not completely who thought you were, it's about dealing with loneliness, and love. And this book spoke to me. Gripped me. Such beautiful prose and such strong emotion.
I will say that the reason I would not give this a full 5 stars is because there were some bits that struck as being somewhat unrealistic. Not that they could never happen, just that they probably don't often happen. But maybe I'm jaded. Who knows?
This book seriously hit me with the feelings. It feels like it has been a LONG time since anything that I have read brought me tears. I liked the idea of this book and it was so beautifully crafted that it ended up being much more than I expected. I really FELT the Emerson quote that the author chose to use and feel like it is an important message for everyone (I am including the full quote here even though it was shortened a bit for the book):
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I was surprised by the turn of events, though I did see a few small details coming. The ending was so lovely, it has left me feeling uplifted and satisfied with the future for these characters when I am typically left wanting so much more.
This was one of the Diverse Books Club's (DBC) December picks for LGBTQ+ month. It absolutely blew me away but I wanted to wait until after the DBC hangout with the author to post my review, in case it in anyway changed my mind about the book. I think if anything I love it even more because Nina LaCour is amazing!
Read this book. Just do it. We can talk about it later (you can tell me I was right, which I do love to hear)
Most recent customer reviews
A short, easy read (I read it in a few hours in 1 sitting) about loneliness,...Read more