We Are Okay by Nina LaCour was a book I’d seen all over Instagram for the past couple of months. I wasn’t sure about it, but I finally borrowed it from my local library. And boy, am I glad I did!
Here’s the 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.”
What I liked…
This book is so tender hearted. The story bounces back and forth between the past summer and the present (December). Going back in time shows Marin interacting with her Grandfather. It also shows her falling in love for the first time. As the story flashes back and forth in time you get more and more details. Mabel comes to visit for the first time since Marin left California.
I liked the format a lot. I was worried it would be slow paced but it only covers four days in the ‘present’. You get a lot of information from the past summer in pieces. As Marin finally opens up to Mabel, she opens up to the reader. It’s paced very nicely and I loved the characters. There was a great variety. I especially liked Mabel. She was realistically hurt, but she didn’t lash out irrationally at Marin either. Mabel was in pain but still tried to be understanding. She moved on, but holds out hope for Marin. It was so sweet.
The love story was so cute. This was the first lesbian romance that I read that resonated with me. You could feel the love between them and it was so sweet. I thought Mabel’s reaction to being cut off was completely realistic. She held on for months, but eventually had to move on. I felt the ending was more realistic like that. But the moments they shared were adorable. Also, I didn’t like the name Mabel at first. It seemed so old fashioned, but, the farther I got into the book, the more I liked it. It’s unique and it fits her.
I usually don’t do this, but there were some amazing quotes. My favorite quote was this one, from when the girls are sharing a pull out hide-a-bed couch during a snowstorm.
“I start to turn, but she reaches back for my arm. She scoots her body closer into mine, until the full lengths of us are touching. With each breath, I feel winter passing.
I close my eyes, and I breathe her in, and I think about this home that belongs to neither of us, and I listen to the fire cfrackling, and I feel the warmth of the room and of her body, and we are okay.
We are okay.”
Another one I loved,
“I was okay just a moment ago. I will learn how to be okay again.”
And this one appealed to my writer’s heart.
“She leans over our table and turns the sign in the window so that it says CLOSED on the outside. But on our side, perfectly positioned between Mabel’s place and mine, it says OPEN. If this were a short story, it would mean something.”
It was so nice to read a book involving mental health in a way that was realistic but ended well. No, Marin isn’t completely better, but she’s moving in the right direction. More books like this need to exist!
The writing was beautiful. I enjoyed it very much! I’m excited to read more of her books.
Have you read We Are Okay? I’d love to hear what you thought in the comments!