Today is my slot on the Blog Tour for We Are Not Okay by Natalia Gomes, and I’m sharing my review.
About the Book:
Lucy loves to gossip. 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 at school. She didn’t say ‘yes’ that night … but no-one believes her.
Sophia loved her boyfriend. When he asked her to pose for photos she didn’t hesitate – but then he betrayed her trust. So why’s she the one being shamed?
Firstly, this book (and review) come with a number of trigger / content warnings: on page rape, slut shaming, revenge porn and an on page suicide. If any of these are an issue for you then proceed with caution.
We Are Not Okay is told from the perspectives of four girls: Lucy, Sophia, Trina and Uluna. Each of the girls is dealing with her own issues: Sophie sends photos of herself in lingerie to her boyfriend and he shares them online; Lucy tries to hide what is happening in her life from others by emphasising their flaws, but she soon finds there are some things that can’t stay hidden; Uluna is hiding her white boyfriend from her strict muslim parents; and Trina is trying to come to terms with something that happened at a party – something she definitely didn’t consent to.
The girls all attend the same school, they know each other, but for the most part, they aren’t friends. Sophia and Uluna are the only friends in this story and, at times, Uluna is more judgemental of Sophia than she is supportive, but she tries to be there for Sophia when things get bad. The others are incredibly nasty to each other, especially when there are boys involved. One thing We Are Not Okay emphasises well is how cruel and bitchy teenage girls can be to each other. Each of them is subjected to unbearable scrutiny as a result of their personal difficulties and this mostly comes from other girls, which made for heartbreaking reading at times. The latter part of the book where the consequences of what has happened are dealt with was well explored and at times difficult to read.
Another thing Natalia shows well is the intense emotions of teenagers, the heights of their happiness and depths of sadness and how everything feels like A Big Deal at that age. We Are Not Okay was sometimes predictable in how the individual stories progressed, but it was fast-paced and the action never let up.
We Are Not Okay is definitely worth reading, but do be careful if any of the issues are explored are likely to be an issue for you, because this book doesn’t hold anything back.