We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books

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.

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.”

Review:

Wow. This was super, super sad. If you are an emotional reader, I would recommend having a box of tissues nearby. Marin is a girl who lost her mother at a young age. She was being taken care of by her grandfather and she doesn’t know how to cope when he doesn’t return home. Marin deals with grief and confusing feelings for her best friend Mabel. She up and leaves San Francisco to go to New York, leaving everything behind.

Marin is a young girl that shouldn’t have to deal with what she does. She is left alone and even though she has had many different people that loved her, she always felt alone all of the time. When her grandfather never comes home, she packs and heads right to New York, closing everyone off and not letting anyone in. Not even her best friend Mabel. Mabel, who Marin is in love with. Things get really confusing for both girls.

I think that Nina LaCour did a beautiful job writing how Marin goes through grief. There are seven stages, and I think that each stage was represented. Marin needed help and the author really showed her going through what she was. Things were really hard for her, and because they were hard for her, some parts were hard to read.

I feel like there was something missing at the end of the book. I felt like I was waiting for something, but it didn’t really take away from the book. This is my second Nina LaCour book, and I’m really starting to love her as an author. Can’t wait to read more.

Rating: ★★★★

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time. ”

Review:

Mark and Ryan head out to a club in the city unbeknownst to their parents. Mark and Ryan are something and then, they’re not. Mark wants Ryan, and Ryan doesn’t know what he wants. He wants someone who isn’t afraid to live. However, Ryan is in the closet still. There is a underwear competition at the club, and Mark wants to show Ryan that he can be the life of the party. After the competition, Mark makes eye contact with the girl he’s sat next to all year in calculus, Kate. Kate understands not to tell anyone that she was there and vice versa. This is a story of friendship and the struggles of coming out.

I flew through this book in a day. It was so, so, so good. I love this story and how important it is to have people that support you around you in life. The friendships that this book portrays is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. I was hooked right from the start.

The character development in this story was phenomenal. I went back and forth with these characters, especially Ryan. I also struggled with Kate for a little, as well. The best character was Mark. He was absolute favorite. He knew what he wanted from day one, and his head was always on straight. There were times where Mark would be struggling with love and I would be in tears. The authors did such a great job with the characters.

My favorite part of this book was how it was written. Nina LaCour and David Levithan began writing this book back and forth for a few years. They would send a chapter back and forth electronically until it was finished. I think that is the coolest thing ever and I would love to co-write with someone like that one day. I think that takes real talent to pick up where someone left off.

I was going to give this book a five star rating, but I feel like there was just one tiny thing missing. If I say what I think was missing, it would be a spoiler. The book was amazing the way it was, but personally, I wish the ending had a little bit different of a finish.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Publication Date: May 10th, 2005
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group

This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world. ”

Review:

I’ve read David Levithan before, and  I have to say that this doesn’t feel like something he wrote. I read You Know Me Well, that David Levithan co-wrote with Nina LaCour, and that seemed very serious and real. Boy Meets Boy seemed a little crazy in the beginning. It seemed a little ridiculous and I was waiting for it to get better. I think it did, but not too much for a five star rating.

There were some things that just seemed absurd. I mean this was also released over ten years ago so I tried to remain neutral about how times might not be the same. The problems that this book had seemed adult, and I think that turned it off for me. When I reached about half way through this book, it really started to pick up. There was a specific chapter named “Tony” that really had me feeling like I was going to cry.

There were so many differences in this book and the last book I read. I’m not comparing those two books, I’m just saying that I noticed the differences. You Know Me Well definitely seemed stronger and well written compared to Boy Meets Boy. As this was his first novel, I feel like that was expected.

I think it’s important to show that not every book written by an author is going to be the same. I think that this book was a blurb of David Levithan’s imagination and what it would be like in high school if he had it his way. By the end, I thought this book was good, and I’m going to try another David Levithan novel.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

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