Book Review

We Are Not Okay – Natalia Gomes

Today’s book is one filled with vitally important messages, We Are Not Okay, by Natalia Gomes. Many thanks to Natalia, and to HQ, for providing me with a copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.

BLURB:

13 Reasons Why meets John Green and Jennifer Niven in We Are Not Ok – a powerful novel about what happens when girls are silenced.

If only they could have spoken out.

Lucy thinks she’s better than the other girls. Maybe if she’s pointing fingers at everyone else, no one will see the secret she’s hiding.

Ulana comes from a conservative Muslim family where reputation is everything. One rumour – true or false – can destroy futures.

Trina likes to party. She’s kissed a lot of boys. She’s even shown her red bra to one. But she didn’t consent to that night at Lucy’s party. So why doesn’t anyone believe her?

Sophia loved her boyfriend. She did anything for him, even send him photos of herself. So why is she the one being pointed at in the hallways, laughed at, spat at when it was him who betrayed her trust?

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REVIEW:

Natalia Gomes wrote one of the first books I ever reviewed on this blog, Blackbird, which I loved, and so even without the comparisons to Jay Asher and John Green, I knew this was a book I wanted to read. With those comparisons, I also knew that it was not going to be an easy book to read.

We Are Not Okay is told from the multiple viewpoints of the four main characters, Sophie, Lucy, Ulana, and Trina each of whom has their own secret to hide or issue to battle. Having four such strong main characters means there was a lot crammed in to one book. Each girl’s story could fill a book on its own and while I could see why Gomes chose to weave them into the one book, at times it felt that they weren’t explored to their full potential.

Covering issues including bullying, racism, the sharing of intimate photos on social media, and teen pregnancy, We Are Not Okay is an emotional read from start to finish, and is a heartbreaking portrayal of just how quickly situations can spiral. It is a book that served as a reminder of just how glad I am not to be at school today, and also that social media and camera phones didn’t exist when I was.

We Are Not Okay is full of important messages, and I hope that it will make any teenager reading it think twice about how their actions can affect other people.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ND Gomes is originally from Scotland, but spent ten years living in America working as an educator in the public school districts.

She has an M.Ed. in Education and is working towards an MLitt. in Scottish Literature and Creative Writing.

She loves to read a variety of YA and adult fiction in all genres, and is always on the lookout for a new book recommendation. ND Gomes has an enthusiasm for books, travel, photography, yoga, vegetarian cooking, and spending time with her family, friends, and chocolate Labrador.

Her YA debut DEAR CHARLIE and second novel BLACKBIRD is published by HarperCollins imprint HQ in the UK.

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