Reinberger Review: “We Are Okay”

We are Okay

LaCour, Nina. (2017). We Are OKAY. United States: Dutton Books. 236 pages.

Type/Genre/Tags: Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQ+, Own Voice

Audience: Grades 9+, High School

Review by:

Kayla Hlad (she/her)

MLIS Student, Kent State University iSchool

Nina LaCour tells the beautiful and heart-wrenching story of Marin’s experience of grief, pain, and betrayal as she explores her complicated relationships with her mother, grandfather, and best friend/ex-girlfriend, Mable. Through flashbacks and a much-needed heart-to-heart with Mable, we unveil the mystery around Marin’s quick and mysterious departure and ease the unspoken tension between these two friends. We discover the recent and distant memories that spotted Marin’s journey towards family, and root for her as she finds the courage to accept the new relationships she deserves. 

 Nina LaCour weaves this story poetically and layers on depth through stunning metaphors and imagery that are perfectly accessible to teens‒not buried unnecessarily or overwrought. The dialogue and actions feel authentic and teens can relate to Marin’s impulses, mixed-feelings, and struggle with a changing sense of self as she starts a new journey and revisits the past. Most significantly, LaCour offers a refreshing contribution to Young Adult literature by firmly rooting the narrative in an exploration of familial relationships, even as she touches upon Marin’s romantic relationship with Mable. Further, by portraying these experiences in a LGBTQ+ youth, LaCour not only highlights an underrepresented teen, but helps to expand the narratives and themes explored in LGBTQ literature. Teens will surely welcome LaCour’s honesty, depiction of a “whole,” underrepresented character, and accurate portrayal of the complications of life and love.

 

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