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Archive for the ‘Nina LaCour’ Category

Ms. LaCour can pack a lot into three days, which is the time span of her latest novel, We Are Okay.  (By the way, it only took me two days to read, it’s that engrossing.) Mabel’s mother died when she was  young and she lived with her grandfather, each having their own bedroom and sharing the common space of the kitchen, living room and dining room. Respecting each other’s privacy, neither ventured into the inner sanctum of the other.

But one summer day after high school graduation, Gramps doesn’t answer when Marin comes home. Busy with summer fun and new girlfriend, Mabel, Marin has pretty much ignored Gramps, minimizing his failing health. Fearing the worst, Marin enters her grandfather’s bedroom, which actually consists of a sitting room and adjoining room and discovers something she never thought existed and which changed her opinion of Gramps forever.

The police are called and a shaken Marin is taken to the police station but rather than go home with Mabel’s parents (who are almost like a second set of parents) she slips out the back door and boards a bus from California to upstate New York and college with nothing but the shirt on her back, her cell phone and her debit card, even though school doesn’t start for two weeks. She ignores Mabel’s frantic texts for weeks before they dwindle into non-existence.

However, Mabel hasn’t given up and visits Marin at school for three days over Christmas break, which is where the story unfolds.

Through the action of the present and flashbacks to the previous summer, readers understand the torture that these two young women underwent, the loss of a grandparent, the loss of a friend. But it also reinforces the concept of family which is not just biological commonality. Mabel and Marin are endearing characters. You like them immediately. Their pain is understandable. The awkwardness of their reunion is palpable.

We Are Okay is both happy and sad and wonderful. And should you like it, don’t forget Everything Leads to You and Hold Still.

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For those of you who haven’t become jaded regarding Valentine’s Day or those of you who want vicarious romance, here are a few good teen romance authors.

There are the old standbys like Sarah Dessen, Julie Anne Peters and Jennifer E. Smith. But there are a few new authors on the horizon. Morgan Matson, Sara Farizan, Emory Lord and Nina LaCour. Here are some books from the newer authors for you..books you might not have heard of

TellMeAgainTell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan – Leila, an Iranian American teen, attends a private high school, where her parents have high expectations for her future. She has made it to her junior year without romance complicating her life, and that’s just fine with her. Leila would just as soon not have everyone find out that she likes girls. But when beautiful, confident, worldly Saskia breezes into the narrator’s life, everything turns upside down.

LastForeverThe Last Forever by Deb Caletti – After a trying bout with cancer, Tess’s mother has died, but she’s left behind a one-of-a-kind pixiebell plant. When her impulsive, pot-smoking, less-than-dependable father takes her on an extended road trip to the Grand Canyon, Tess brings the plant with her, but keeping it alive during their journey through the desert is a struggle. Unexpectedly, Tess’s father brings her to the home of his mother, an artist Tess barely remembers. Tess is in for some life-changing lessons about old family grudges and secrets held by new acquaintances, including a boy who makes it his mission to help Tess save the withering pixiebell, and wins her heart in the process.

SecondChanceSummerSecond Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – Seventeen-year-old Taylor and her family-her mother, father, older brother, and younger sister-are off to the Poconos for the summer, whether everyone wants to or not. Taylor falls in the latter category. Returning to their lake house after a five-year absence fills her with dread: she’ll have to face her estranged best friend as well as the boy she left without saying goodbye.

 

EverythingLeadsToYouEverything Leads to You by Nina LaCour – Eighteen-year-old production design intern Emi is getting over her first love and trying to establish her place in the Los Angeles film industry. Set during the summer before her freshman year of college, Emi spends days designing sets for a blockbuster, and, later, a low-budget indie film (complicated by the presence of her ex, also working on both films). When she and her best friend Charlotte find a letter hidden in the possessions of a recently deceased Hollywood film legend at an estate sale, they begin searching for its intended recipient. Eventually that leads to Ava, a beautiful teen to whom Emi is immediately attracted.

OpenRoadSummerOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord – Reagan joins her best friend Delilah’s summer concert tour to escape some poor decisions and break some bad habits, finding romance and complication instead.

 

 

 

 

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EverythingLeadsToYouThe summer time is a time for romance and Nina LaCour supplies it in Everything Leads to You. Morgan has just broken up with Emi for the sixth time but they can’t avoid each other since they work at the same movie studio, designing sets. Emi’s best friend Charlotte works there as well.

It is the summer after high school and Morgan, Emi and Charlotte are working on the same movie. While looking for pieces for a set at an estate sale at the home of a famous and reclusive cowboy actor, Clyde Jones, Charlotte buys a Patsy Cline album as a souvenier. At home she takes it out to listen and a letter drops out. Reading it, Emi and Charlotte discover it is to Clyde’s daughter, Caroline, a daughter no one knew he had. It also refers to his grand daughter, Ava. Charlotte and Emi decide they need to find Caroline and give her the letter.

From the above, you can’t tell this is a love story, but it is, trust me. Giving any more away will ruin it. Charlotte and Emi spend the summer working on a movie, searching for Caroline and Ava and staying in Emi’s brother, Toby’s, apartment while he is away in Europe scouting locations for another movie. His parting words were, “Do something epic while I’m gone.” And indeed they do.

Emi is a great character, self confident in her work, but crumbling at Morgan’s advances to get back together. I’m assuming most people can relate to that. She’s also unsure of her new love, who Ms. LaCour doesn’t hide, but I will. The trio of Emi, Charlotte and Morgan are talented and they bring to light how rooms in movies are decorated, something we rarely think about.HoldStill

There are no surprises (well maybe some surprises) in Everything Leads to You, but there doesn’t have to be to make this a fun book. It is your classic beach read.

If you’re looking for something from Nina LaCour with a little more ‘meat’ in it, try Hold Still. In my Librarything review, I likened it to 13 Reasons Why and the Hate List. No bad company, huh?

 

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