Author Crush: Nina LaCour!
Though bittersweet, Nina LaCour’s standalone coming of age romances are moving and heartfelt; they’ll definitely keep you thinking, even after you’re finished. They’re at times quirky, emotionally intense, and unconventional, but so readable – I couldn’t help but read We Are Okay in one sitting! So far, Nina has written five books, all of which are amazing and will give you a lot of feelings, if that’s what you’re in the mood for.
LaCour’s moving first novel, Hold Still, is an in-depth look at what it’s like to be left behind in the wake of a best friend’s suicide. This book keeps the feelings coming as Caitlin finds her friend’s diary and begins reading about what made Ingrid want to kill herself. Though Caitlin can’t seem to figure out how to function, she discovers things in her life, which help her cope, such as trying to make new friends, find love, and work on her photography with that teacher.
In Everything Leads to You, Emi is living the dream, working as a set designer in LA, and one day, at the estate sale for a star of old Western films, she and her best friend, Charlotte, come across a mysterious letter. After trying to track down the intended recipient of the letter, the mystery eventually leads them to Ava, a homeless teen that Emi finds herself falling for. The romance is definitely a slow burn throughout the story and the little details about film production and LA are immersive and make it easy to get lost in the perfectly sunny summer romance.
Nina LaCour and David Levithan teamed up to write You Know Me Well in alternating chapters about Mark and Kate, who meet celebrating Pride Week in San Francisco and are practically instant friends. Both of them are gay, go to the same school, and have a habit of making the worst decisions. Mark told his closeted best friend that he loved him and faced rejection, while Kate suffers from her lack of self-confidence, choosing to run from the good things in her life rather than facing them. This heartfelt novel shows that friendships aren’t always straightforward or easy, just like romance.
In We Are Okay, Marin is living on her college campus thousands of miles away from home, and since her grandfather and sole caretaker, Gramps, died the previous summer, she has been drifting through life without direction. When she finds out about some secrets Gramps has been keeping, Marin shuts herself away from everyone and everything she loved. Her best friend, Mabel flies cross-country to help her cope; Marin and Mabel have shared a complicated relationship, but despite the past, the girls find ways for Marin to cope and move on.
If you’ve read and enjoyed Nina LaCour’s books and want to find her on social media, check out her website, Twitter, and Goodreads. Or, if you can’t wait for a new book by her, try one of these great stories to help tide you over: Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Amy McNamara (TN MCN), The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle (TN FED), Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (TN ALB), and The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg (TN KON).