We Are Okay (Sneak Peek) by Nina LaCour
Expected Publication: February 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, LGBT+
Pages: 52 out of 240
ISBN: 9780525425892 (hardcover edition)
Goodreads (full edition)
This review is written based on reading the 52-page preview excerpt obtained from Netgalley, so beware: spoilers!
This sneak peak of Nina LaCour’s upcoming book We Are Okay is the best that I’ve ever read. Never have I been immediately sucked into a book’s world—not even by my utmost favourite books, but this one got me hooked at its very first sentence, leaving no room for objections whatsoever because it’s just that good at keeping my attention.
The imagery LaCour’s narrative creates is a beautiful one—fittingly depressing but ultimately beautiful. Of course, they can be clichéd and I do feel like I’ve read certain lines many books before, but nothing is truly new these days so I can’t really complain about that here, particularly since those clichés aren’t as blatantly obvious as they can be. Furthermore, the way LaCour writes this is almost poetic. However, some lines in this book are rather repetitive and although repetition provides emphasis, I find myself on the fence on whether I like it or not here. At times, I feel that it assists with making this book beautiful, other times I’m doubtful because it holds flickers of ingenuity.
Additionally, I really like how normal and relatable the characters are. I don’t know how much they develop in the rest of the book, but I like what I’ve read thus far. Though, neither Marin (despite my being able to relate a lot to her) nor Mabel are my favourites at this point since Hannah holds that position. From the bits about her, I think she’s a very sweet and understanding person. Also, reading about Marin’s relationship with her grandpa is enjoyable. However, I cannot help but be a little irked by the presence of the Absent Parents/Guardian trope. I get that people die every day, and I get that this book wouldn’t be as depressing as it is had Marin’s last known and living relative not die, but darn it, I wish the grandpa is alive. Or her mother didn’t die. Or that she has an aunt or an uncle—just someone with familial ties because the lack of YA heroines with an extended family (minus the grandparents) that I’ve been coming across recently just baffles me.
Chapter Three (aka ‘blast from the past’) is, to me, a little sudden—disjointed. I don’t know how else to explain it but for two chapters, it felt like I was floating on water in a world where only the waves and my own breathing made sounds and then, bam! The water’s gone and I’m in a clearing filled with animal sounds and rustling plants and such. Even so, it gives a nice contrast between the person Marin is now and the person she was then.
Only the first four chapters are included in this sneak peak but it’s definitely enough to cement my desire to read the entire book. I’m certain that it’ll be worth it, especially when faced with the cliff-hanger in Chapter Four!