In Nina LaCour’s novel “We Are Okay,” Marin, a college freshman, arrives for orientation with a single duffel bag, her phone, an ATM card and a shadowy past. The San Francisco native spends the semester making a few friends, attending her classes and remaining relatively quiet. When the entire school leaves for a month-long winter break, Marin is the only student left on the snow-covered New York campus. She can no longer ignore her past.
Back in California, Marin had lived with her grandfather, after being orphaned at a young age. He was her only family besides her best friend Mabel. Marin could not have been happier at the end of her high school years. But then a horrific series of events pushed her to run away from the only life she knew.
After several months at college trying to smother her pain, Marin has to face what happened in her past. This occurs just days before Christmas when Mabel comes to visit. Surrounded by the frigid winter, the girls begin a long process of opening up, but will it be enough to heal Marin’s broken heart?
“We Are Okay” masterfully conveys Marin’s struggles with page-turning anticipation. LaCour slowly and expertly reveals the truth by alternating chapters between the past and the present. Marin’s rawly portrayed emotional journey is accompanied by the beauty of self-discovery and companionship. This story of coping and healing makes an unforgettable novel.