Book Review · Standalone Sunday

Standalone Sundays: We Are Okay – Nina LaCour

Standalone Sunday is a weekly feature hosted by Megan at Bookslayer Reads. The name of the game is to focus on standalone books, and give them some love in the day of trilogies and big franchises.

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WAO1With just her phone, her wallet, and a picture of her mother, Marin leaves her whole life behind.

After a traumatic event, Marin runs away from San Francisco, dropping communication with everyone she left behind, even her best friend, Mabel. After a few months of silence, Mabel travels cross country to visit Marin at her new college in New York, and Marin has to confront her painful last weeks in California.

“I wonder if there’s a secret current that connects people who have lost something. Not in the way that everyone loses something, but in the way that undoes your life, undoes your self, so that when you look at your face it isn’t yours anymore.”

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Sometimes, it’s okay to judge a book by its cover. When I was looking at all the new books coming out this spring, We Are Okay’s cover stop me in my tracks. I was pleasantly surprised that the description also peaked my interest.

What I found beyond the cover struck me to my core. As someone who has dealt with extreme loneliness, I took to Marin quickly and her pain became mine. I’ll never experience the same pain as Marin, but the betrayal and isolation I understood.

To be afraid of ghosts all the time.

I’ve read books about loneliness before that made me feel panicky, but I never felt this way about We Are Okay. Even though the subject matter is heavy, somehow LaCour was able to instill an ease into the tone. The book definitely made me cry… a couple of times, but I never thought it was too bleak.

The chemistry between Marin and Mabel is also a strong plus, and injects variety into the story. I also thought the ending was beautifully hopeful, and well earned, without betraying what came before.

I loved the narrow score of the story, which helped it from going off into melodramatic territory, taking place over three days (Mabel’s visit), with flashbacks to the past summer in San Francisco. There’s a ‘twist’, but nothing crazy or over-the-top. More like a revelation, one that changes the whole context of your life.

I don’t know if We Are Okay will resonate with other readers like it did with me, but I highly recommend the book, as long as you don’t mind sadness.

Score: 10/10

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6 thoughts on “Standalone Sundays: We Are Okay – Nina LaCour

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