There are books that make you emotional, then there are books that make your soul feel like its been rubbed raw. We Are Okay was one of those books. I don’t know if it was because I could relate so strongly to Marin’s grief or because of the beautiful writing, but this novel touched me in a way very few books have done before. Nina LaCour’s writing is so beautifully breath taking and captivating. I was swept into this story and carried away into Marin’s life. We Are Okay took me on an emotional roller-coaster that I was not prepared for, but that I am glad I did not miss out on.
4 out of 5 stars
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
Nina LaCour’s characters are complex and captivating. She did a brilliant job building the layers of grief that surround them. I could feel their emotional pain as I was reading this novel. As someone who has lost loved ones and dealt with grief I was very impressed with the way in which LaCour captured it. True grief is a hard emotion to put into words without it coming across as superficial. This novel did a wonderful job of creating true grief throughout the development of the plot and characters.
LaCour’s main character, Marin, was so beautifully written and developed during the novel. I related to her so strongly, the pain and hardship she faced. What Marin did, creating a new life for herself away from the loss she suffered, is what I tried to do as well when I left for college. I could feel her need to leave it all behind, to be fresh and new while at the same time being faced with the ghosts of her past. Marin is one of those characters that you can feel deep in your soul. You feel that connection, that struggle; that is what makes a brilliant character.
Discovering Marin’s story during the novel kept me so hooked into this book. The more you read the more in depth and complex her character became. Discovering all the people she loved, the people she lost, and the connections she had to her old life was so touching. There are so many little details that go into developing Marin, you can really see her as a person, someone you may pass on the street. Her character is so complex it’s hard to remember that she is just words on a page. The emotions are so raw and real that you want to believe there is someone out there feeling them just as you read them.
The characters surrounding Marin help build her development and depth as well. The love she has for her best friend and ex-lover is raw and powerful, there is still a bond between the two after all they have faced. Marin’s relationship with her grandfather is the driving force of the novel, and reading about that development keeps you on the edge of your seat. You want to know what happened between them. You need to know, even though it will break your heart. These characters were so real to me, I never wanted this novel to end.
One of the best parts of this novel, in my opinion, is that it is one of those books that leaves you absolutely destroyed when you finish in. You’ve felt all the emotions, read the story of the characters, and now you’re sobbing at midnight face down in your pillow. For a while they were part of your life. You related to the struggles they faced. It was real while you were between those pages. The ending is the most heart-breaking part. Is Marin healing? Will she ever recover from the loss she feels? Those are the questions that you are left with in the end. Will it really all be okay?