Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review: WE ARE OKAY by THE Nina LaCour

Dear Kim,

You know my love for Nina LaCour runs deep. I've written about Hold Still and Everything Leads to You at length. Her novel with THE David Levithan, You Know Me Well, is only one degree from any other book that I am speaking about at any given time. I love her work. (I guess I already said that...but...)

Mon coeur pour ses livres de LaCour.

Fitting, LaCour's latest book released on February 14th-- a day of love. We Are Okay is a masterfully written story about loss, self-preservation, and family.

We Are Okay brings us into Marin's life on winter break, her first year of college in New York. Since Gramps died, she has no family to return home to in California, so she stays on campus alone. Until her friend Mabel, who was once her everything, visits after not speaking for months. Snow piles up around them as questions are left unanswered. Then slowly, LaCour unveils the answers. We learn about Mabel and Marin through flashbacks. We learn about Gramps and his secrets too. We see moments of happiness in Marin's past that lead us to hope for her future. It is another stunning work of art by Nina LaCour.

Great Expectations

I've come to expect a few great touchstones from Nina LaCour's work, and We Are Okay did not disappoint.

1. The melancholy.

I expect a thick layer of longing and grief in LaCour's work, none more prevalent than in We Are Okay. The grief and loneliness so wrenching they almost drip from the page (or maybe that was just my tears). I know you are wondering about the title. It says "OKAY" right there above the gorgeous illustration on the cover. Yes, LaCour gives us hope too, but we must earn it. Take for instance:

2. The words. Oh, the words.

Each word so breathtakingly deliberate in this novel. Each significant in unfolding the mystery of Gramps, and understanding Marin & Mabel.

3. The perfect love story.

Not the PERFECT. LOVE. STORY., but a love that is perfect for her characters. In Everything Leads to You the romance had to be cinematic, epic, and happily ever after. However, that kind of love story wouldn't fit Marin and Mabel. LaCour writes a love story for them. We learn about their past and hope for their future instead.

And, if for some bizarre reason, you still haven't hit BUY on the button next to We Are Okay, take a moment to listen to the melancholy, her words, and the love that is perfect for Marin, in this audio sample (click here).

Much love,