“We Are Okay” by Nina LaCour: a review of an award winning novel


Having won the title of The Today Show Must-Read Book, along with the title of Best Book of the Year award from the Boston Globe, and Seventeen Magazine in 2017, “We Are Okay” by Nina LaCour, explores the struggles and tragedies a young woman faces while she tries to navigate the beginning of adulthood.

Told in first person, readers discover the tragic past, the confusing present, and the warped emotions that rule the life of Marin Delaney, who is forced to remember and speak of a past that she has tried for months to leave behind.

There is only so much a person can endure before running away with only their phone, wallet, and a battered picture of their mother.

When the dorm rooms empty for winter break, Marin is left with her own thoughts until a face from her past returns to her life: her best friend Mabel. Like everyone else she left in California, Marin hasn’t spoken to Mabel since she left the life of beaches behind her, but now that Mabel is there, in Marin’s new world, Marin has to dive back into the tragic ocean that is her past and explain herself to a stranger who was her best friend.

After all, this book is full of heart wrenching loss, the battle inside of one’s head, love and friendship, and it’s a perfect snowed-in-weekend read. A short novel that will have you turning the pages looking for the answers to the questions aroused throughout and wanting to know what happens next.

Praise for “We Are Okay”:

★ “Short, poetic and gorgeously written. . . . The world LaCour creates is fragile but profoundly humane.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A beautiful, devastating piece of art. . . . An extraordinary work.” —Bookpage

★ “LaCour paints a captivating depiction of loss, bewilderment, and emotional paralysis . . . raw and beautiful.” —Booklist

★ “A moving portrait of a girl struggling to rebound after everything she’s known has been thrown into disarray.” —Publishers Weekly

★ “Bittersweet and hopeful . . . poetic and skillfully crafted.” —Shelf Awareness

★ “So lonely and beautiful that I could hardly breathe. This is a perfect book.” —Stephanie Perkins, bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss

Senior Madeleine DeGrace also praises “We Are Okay”:

“I love how “We Are Okay” brought up mental illness,” DeGrace said. “It wasn’t stereotypical in anyway – girl is a clam because she has anxiety and has no friends – but it felt personal, as if LaCour had gone through it herself. It didn’t feel like she looked up the definition of anxiety, and went with that. It seemed as if she knew exactly how Marin was feeling. It was deep and meaningful and one of the best books I read in 2017.”

I agree, this book was truly beautiful; I read it over a span of three days and I loved it.

The only thing I’d be weary of if you plan on reading this book is that as you read you keep questioning what happened in Marin’s past, what happened in California, and it takes reading the entire book to learn about her entire past. If you are picky about chronological order, I don’t recommend reading this because it jumps between now and the past. I found this book to be relatable to my current relationships with friends, and I think I liked it even more because of that.

As beautiful as the best memories, as sad as the best songs, as hopeful as your best dreams.” —Siobhan Vivian, bestselling author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World.