We Are Okay / by Chakriya Phal

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From the dust jacket: "Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart."

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

This YA novel by Nina LaCour, surprised and delighted me. I had seen it on bookstagram many times, but didn't know the premise. Generally, I don't pick up YA novels. Maybe because of my age, maybe because I can't relate (it's not that) but mostly because I feel as though we give a pass to how these books are written (here's looking at you Rainbow Rowell with my almondy almond eyes). 

We are Okay isn't gimmicky nor does it overindulged with words. In fact, not much happens. There's the snow, washing dishes, some talking, and a lot of inner dialogue. The beauty in this book is in the little details-the yellow of the bowls, the body language of Marin and Mabel when they reconnect. The storytelling brilliantly mirrors the outside landscape with it's quiet tone. For those who enjoys character-driven novels, you will feel all of Marin's pain and internal turmoil.

It is a story about grief, love in its many forms, how we cope, and what it means to be family. I had many emotions while reading and cried terribly hard during the last few pages. Highly recommend for those in need of all the feels.

“When I think of all of us back then, I see how we were in danger. Not because of the drinking or the sex or the hour of the night. But because we were so innocent and we didn’t know it. There’s no way of getting it back. The confidence. The easy laughter. The sensation of having left home only for a little while. Of having a home to return to.”