We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
(Dutton Books, 2017, 234 pages)
This is a book one of our ESL classes is reading and I get to help out with classroom discussions. I was familiar with this title but didn’t know anything about it until I actually started reading. The novel revolves around a college freshman named Marin. She was born and raised on the west coast but she’s living an isolated life at a college in New York. We know something traumatic has happened but we don’t have much insight into what. Only that whatever it was has left her essentially stripped of her identity.
The novel is told in flashbacks between the end of her senior year and the present (December). We learn about Marin’s unique relationship with her grandfather who she has been living with since her mother died when Marin was just a toddler. We learn about Marin’s best friend, Mabel, and how their friendship flourished… But we also learn that Marin and Mabel are no longer talking and it’s because Marin has effectively cut ties with her former life.
We Are Okay is a novel about grief and about trying to find your way back to yourself when you’re not even sure who that is anymore. I definitely see the appeal of this quiet coming of age story.