Clover Book Club: We Are Okay
A book doesn’t have to be set in a crazy dystopian universe or include a scandalous plot twist to be a total page-turner. Just ask Nina LaCour, whose new novel We Are Okay possesses a quiet power. It’s one that tackles universal human themes of loneliness and grief and friendship in a special kind of way we can all relate to. And, as Nina wrote in last week’s letter, “I am not saying that anything is going to be easy. It is not. But no matter what, hold onto your worth. You are one of a kind.” We are all going to be okay. We gave copies of the book to two readers on opposite coasts, and they agreed. See their thoughts below.
Ali, 16, California
I highly recommend this novel. I read it during every spare moment and felt transported into the cold dorms with Marin [the protagonist]. I could picture everything perfectly, as if I was with her, not under the covers in my room. The ghost of her Gramps haunting her and her desire to get away from home brought out so many feelings and thoughts. The allusions throughout the book helped develop Marin’s character and showed the reader how she is coping with her move and losses. My friend Charlotte and I were literally crying at the end—and it was such a good ending, which feels rare these days.
“It’s relatable; the trauma and pain is something we all go through and to find a book where it isn’t romanticized becomes even better,” Charlotte said. The book is honest and shows the reader that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel, without making pain seem glamorous, or not as hurtful as it actually is. That's a rarity in young adult literature today; this book is a perfect combination of honesty and beauty.
I’ve always been a fan of Nina LaCour, and this novel just made me admire her even more. She had so many metaphors, which somehow made this story feel even more real. Because in some way, everyone has been/will be a Marin and a Mabel, the best friend.
This book made for a good talk over snacks, and the end had us all crying tears of hope and grief for a character who came alive within a few hundred pages. Best of all? My Amazon cart is now filled with all the Nina LaCour books I didn’t already have on my bookshelf.
Adrienne, 22, New York
My friends and I weren’t familiar with the book or the author prior to the book club—which means we jumped head first into it. Aware of one another’s reading speed, we would strike up conversations throughout the weeks leading up to our meeting. Each conversation was laced with surprise and intrigue. Don’t worry, Clovers, no spoilers here.
We all agreed that Nina LaCour, the author of We Are Okay, did a good job of drawing you into their world. The details were vivid and you almost felt like you were standing right on the beach with Mabel and Marin, soaking up the last rays of sunshine. With every chapter, you learn more and more about their world, as well as their friendship. You get pulled in.
“I was very surprised that the book touched on mental illness and sexual orientation,” was an agreed-upon comment that popped up during our book club meeting over a cheese platter. Some of us really felt that the context of the book was a good introduction to mental health and sexual orientation, even though the book is technically intended for a YA audience.
The only thing better than reading a great book is talking about it IRL. Want to host a book club? Join our ambassador program!
This post was brought to you by our pals at Penguin Teen. Now that you’re fully convinced that We Are Okay is a total must-read, order it online here.