Title: We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 ★★★★★
A quick yet powerful read, Nina LaCour's We Are Okay was just what I needed when I was drowning in a reading slump and aching for...something. Was the writing extremely detailed? No, no it wasn't. Was there much action? No, not really. But was it real? Was it raw? Was it beautiful? Yes, yes, a million times yes. There was a beautiful stillness to it that I loved; pauses in between conversation that I could feel; a certain realness and attention to human nature that made it so amazing.
So: what is this beautiful book about, you ask?
We Are Okay's main character, Marin, has shut herself away, quite literally as well as metaphorically, having chosen to stay alone in a college dormitory during winter break. She's cut out everyone from her old life in a failing attempt to escape what happened. No one even knows what happened those last few days, anyway. But she left someone special behind — her best friend, Mabel. And now Mabel has come to visit her in her new "home", and she is forced to face all of the unspoken and heartbreaking truths of what happened.
Now, it may appear that I'm going off track here, but trust me, I'm not. Have you ever watched a Hayao Miyazaki movie? Something like The Wind Rises or Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle? If you have, you would know that Miyazaki is extremely talented at making scenes in which there's a bit of silence, a pause. A pause where the character(s) and the viewers are allotted time to just think, and there's something magical that this element adds. There's also a special way that each character is animated that makes them unique. We Are Okay reminds me of this. (You know that if I compare a book to a Hayao Miyazaki movie, it must to be good.)
Like I said earlier, there's a "beautiful stillness to it that I loved; pauses in between conversation that I could feel; a certain realness and attention to human nature that made it so amazing." Each feeling and emotion is one by one exposed throughout the book, and while it is a quick read I felt like I really could take my time to appreciate each one.
Since the subject matter of the book is so real and convincing, I found that the book was also very relatable and comforting, in a sense. We've all felt lonely and down at some point in our life; we've all been lost and scared. And yet each situation that we experience is different from the person next to us, which is why I like to say this about the book:
I love it because it is so real and relatable while also completely new and foreign.
I feel like this is a book to read alone, in the rain or at night, tucked into some corner in almost complete darkness. This book is whispers and lost bits of conversation found again that are cried over from relief and hurt. This book is so many things and a lot more than I thought it would be, and while it isn't exceptionally groundbreaking, it is real enough and raw enough and meaningful enough, and certainly something I won't forget.