All Booked Up: We Are Okay

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All Booked Up: We Are Okay

Lauren Toneatto ’21, Social Media Editor

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Being a sophomore in college puts me in a very weird reader category. Though I hate to accept it, the YA fiction section is not longer suiting my reading needs. There’s only so many times I can unironically read about entering freshman year of high school or fifteen-year old’s having a full-fledged relationship. 

On the flip side, I’m not yet ready to dive into the adult section. I can no longer tolerate high school drama stories, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to embark on a passage about a divorced mother with two kids struggling to get her life back together either. 

Therefore, as an avid leisure reader, you can imagine the road block I’m current stuck at. However, to my delight, I stumbled upon Nina LaCour’s novel We Are Okay. Set over winter break in college, LaCour provides a sophisticated novel with characters that I can relate to and sympathize with. Beyond meeting the genre criteria I struggle to find, We Are Okay is also an excellent read that I couldn’t put down and would highly recommend.  

LaCour’s novel follows Marin, a first-year student in college, as she deals with grief following her grandfather’s passing. The reader first meets Marin as her roommate readies to depart for winter break, leaving the novel’s protagonist alone in her dorm for the next month. In the coming days her best friend Mabel from California will be visiting. Yet, rather than excitedly anticipate Mabel’s arrival, Marin counts down the hours until she will be alone again. 

Marin has not spoken to anyone since she left earlier than expected for college, blatantly ignoring Mabel’s numerous texts and calls. Marin is drowning in grief but won’t let anyone know as the feeling of drowning and grieving hits a little too close to home given her family history. 

I really appreciated the plot moving between past and present accounts of Marin’s emotions. Oftentimes it was really helpful comparing and contrasting Marin and Mabel’s current relationship, sitting in silence in a dark dorm room, versus their past vibrant, conversation-filled nights together at the beach. Mabel’s dedication to her best friend and determination to stay in contact despite Marin’s attempt to push her away was very admirable. While I could not personally relate to every aspect of this plot, this central friendship particularly stood out to me as a significant element. 

The story also had a relatively unexpected plot twist. It was interesting seeing how this climatic occurrence both enhanced Marin’s grief and lead to her acceptance of the situation surrounding her grandfather. I particularly enjoyed reading Marin’s inner monologue in terms of when it was the right time to reveal this important information to Mabel, who up until the last few months Marin considered her extended family. LaCour also did a great job of subtly hinting to aspects of this plot point without giving it away all at once. This slow build really advanced the narrative, giving readers a chance to piece together the picture themselves before the big reveal. 

Overall, We Are Okay was a breath of fresh air as a reader. Between subject matter, LaCour’s use of prose and nuanced plot, this novel is one of the best I have read in a long time. At only 234 pages long, I personally finished reading this book in three days. I definitely don’t advise neglecting your schoolwork as I did in order to finish in this short time frame. However, the reasonable page length makes LaCour’s novel approachable to other reader’s who want to indulge in a relatable story but don’t have an abundance of free time. 

Yet, I will add a disclaimer, once you start reading it’s hard to step away no matter how many tests are looming in the near future. We Are Okay is certainly one to add to your summer reading list.