We Are Okay By Nina LaCour
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 want to preface this review by saying: I have read a book by Nina LaCour before and it absolutely blew me away. I walked into this book with extremely high expectations. Those expectations were not only met, but they have been blown away. How I rave about this book with the utmost sincerity is because I truly loved this book to pieces.
WOW. Just wow. It's been quite awhile since a book pleaded with me until the wee hours of the morning to keep reading, to just keep turning the pages, one at a time. This book didn't just make me stay up extremely late, it demanded that I lie awake in bed, hours after finishing it, just thinking about the immense depth of what I just read.
We Are Okay is achingly beautiful and rings so true. LaCour perfectly captures the grief of losing a loved one and the anxiety that comes after. LaCour also put a feeling that I couldn't describe to others before now; she captures that feeling of loneliness that you get even when you seem to be surrounded by the people who love you most. Almost all of the feelings and themes in We are Okay struck extremely close to home, which made this book hard to just finish and put away for me.
LaCour's characters were extremely fleshed out, even at the beginning, making them tangible and real enough to be people who I would hang out with or people who could even become my friends. The way that LaCour was able to write mundane characters doing mundane things into such a magical way truly amazed me.
I absolutely loved Mabel and how much she cared about Marin, even when Marin wasn't responding or her efforts seemed fruitless. Mabel kept trying to make Marin feel better, or at least feel like someone cared.
I loved getting to know what Marin and Mabel's relationship was like before college. However, while these flashbacks kept my interest and the pages turning, I almost always felt heartbroken after reading them. Marin and Mabel's love - what could have been if Marin hadn't distanced herself so much - left me in tears. Gramps and his quirks made me smile, but Gramps and his disturbed mind had me crying my eyes out once more.
While Mabel couldn't go back in time and fix all that Marin had ruined, she definitely helped to put back the pieces. Mabel talked with her when she needed it, and reminded her that there were other girls out there that Marin could go for. Mabel helped her realize that love was still out there for her if only she put out an effort.
Mabel's message for Marin was also the over-arching theme of the book: You need to take charge of your own destiny. The book was entirely character-driven, with many of the activities they did being extremely mundane. However, the book was excellent and extremely interesting because of the characters, what actions they took, and what conversations they had with one another.
The actual plot, as I said earlier, was extremely slow and mundane, but that made it all the more powerful and raw. The slowness of the plot was exactly what life feels like when dealing with crippling anxiety or grief.
When going through the mundane moments of life with Marin, I found a certain beauty in it. I am sad to say that I had not found that type of beauty in my own life before We are Okay. That was one of the things I loved about this book: it made you re-think everything in your life.
We are Okay made me re-think everything I thought I already knew. Marin's unique situations made me re-think what family is and my current familial situations. I rethought my relationship with someone after reading about Marin and Mabel's in high school.
This book was just a lot of the things that I needed at the right moment. I was sick of the misrepresentation, or just lack of representation of queer people in the media. We are Okay perfectly represents queer people. I needed a quick, addictive book to just finish and with We are Okay, I got just that. This book had just about everything I could ever ask for.