We Are Okay Summary & Study Guide

LaCour, Nina
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We Are Okay Summary & Study Guide Description

We Are Okay Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on We Are Okay by LaCour, Nina .

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: LaCour, Nina. We Are Okay. Dutton Books, 2017. First Edition.

This novel has a non-linear narrative. Marin is alone in her college dormitory for the winter break. The next day her friend is scheduled to visit. This next morning, Marin prepares for Mabel’s arrival later that day. She attempts to decorate her side of the dorm room but fails, feeling that her efforts make her look even more desperate. That night, Mabel arrives, and they talk about their respective colleges.

The narration then switches to the past tense, retelling events that happened in May of that year. Marin remembers living with Gramps, with whom she shared a house for most of her life. In her senior year of high school, Marin and her peers acted as if they were not all about to go their separate ways. Marin and Mabel spent time together outside of class, often on the beach where surfers give Marin seashells in remembrance of her deceased mother who used to surf. Gramps never spoke to Marin about her mother; he wrote often to his pen pal who he called “Birdie.”

The narration then returns to the present. Mabel invites Marin to spend Christmas in California with her and her parents, but Marin resists. Mabel brings up Gramps who has passed, but Marin protests; she does not want to talk about him. That night, Mabel and Marin cook dinner, and Mabel announces that she has a boyfriend named Jacob. They eat in silence.

The narration again switches to the past tense. In May, Gramps one day showed Marin a green dress he said Birdie sent to him. A few days later, Marin was instructed by her school to find a baby picture that she wanted in the yearbook next to her senior portrait. She asked Gramps if such a thing might exist but was given bad news; he claimed not to have any such photographs.

Back in the present tense, Mabel and Marin take the bus into town where they visit a potter’s studio and store. Marin selects several objects to purchase and asks the potter at checkout if she is looking for any help in the store. Marin is told no, and the girls go to a nearby café at which Mabel takes a call, giving Marin a chance to run back to the potter’s studio to buy a present for Mabel. Inside, the potter offers Marin a job, having changed her mind.

The narration returns to the past tense, this time taking place in June. Mabel and Marin prepared for a party by purchasing almost-identical dresses. Before they left Mabel’s house after getting ready, Mabel’s parents’ stopped the girls, demanding that Mabel go change due to her dress’s inappropriateness. Marin was not told to change, but she did anyway though she wanted Mabel’s parents to also tell her to do so. Later, at the party, one girl was shocked to hear that Marin had not been in the back of her house; Marin felt uncomfortable.

Back in the present, Mabel and Marin are in the dorm, when the power has gone off. The groundskeeper Tommy offers his cottage for them to spend the night; they accept.

Back in June, Marin and Mabel spent the night together on a San Francisco beach, truly beginning their romantic relationship. Later that day, Gramps told Marin that his relationship with his pen pal was not romantic and did not scold Marin for her relationship with Mabel, though it is questionable whether he understood what was really happening between them.

In Tommy’s cottage, Marin and Mabel hold hands on the pull-out sofa bed. Mabel asks Marin where she went after fleeing California and before coming to college. Marin tells her about the motel in which she stayed and then the truth about Birdie: that she did not really exist. They embrace and go to bed. The next morning the power is back on, and they return to Marin’s dormitory. Mabel again suggests that Marin should return to California with her.

The narrative again moves into the past tense, this time in July and August. Marin found some hidden bloody handkerchiefs of Gramps’s and cleaned them for him. Gramps then sat down Marin and gave her important documents, such as her birth certificate and an ATM card. The rest of the summer, Marin spent most of her time with Mabel, enjoying their romance. The time then came for Mabel to leave for college; Marin and she said goodbye. Gramps was becoming more elusive to Marin.

In the dormitory, Mabel pleads with Marin to tell her more about what happened. Marin reveals the truth: that there was a hidden walk-in closet in Gramps’s room in which sat piles of letters and belongings of her mother. Back in August, Marin one day found Gramps missing from their home. She called many people, looking for advice before picking up a photograph of her mother that hung on the wall before her. On the photo’s backside read: “Birdie on Ocean Beach, 1996” (168). Birdie was her mother, and Gramps had been writing letters to himself and signing them with her nickname. The police arrived at Marin’s house and took Marin to the station. She was told that some had seen “an old man going into the water at Ocean Beach” earlier that day (173). From the station, Marin left for the airport where she booked an immediate flight to New York. In New York, she found a motel where she holed up until the day her dormitory opened.

In the dormitory, Mabel comforts Marin after hearing this entire story and again encourages Marin to come back to California. The next day, Mabel departs, and Marin regrets her choice to remain in New York. Time passes that day, before Mabel and her parents arrive unexpectedly at Marin’s dorm; they have come to New York to bring Christmas to her. Marin is happy. Before the novel’s close, Mabel’s mother, Ana, offers to be a mother to Marin, and Marin accepts. She recalls a memory of her birth mother on the beach. The novel ends.

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