Every January (or sometimes February), the ALA youth media awards are announced at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference. Among those awards is the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature for YA books published in the previous calendar year. This year’s honorees included heavyweights such as Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down and Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, but we’re thrilled that the book that won this year’s Printz medal was Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. A stunning and lyrical book about grief, We Are Okay tells the story of Marin who has run away from her life in California in an effort to start over. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. When winter break comes around and she has nowhere to go, her estranged best friend comes to visit and Marin is forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
With nods to gothic literature and an atmospheric collegiate setting, We Are Okay has been winning readers over since publication with The New York Times Book Review calling it “short, poetic and gorgeously written” in addition to being named to several best of lists, including: A TODAY Show Must-Read Book, a Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, a Seventeen Best Book of the Year, a Bustle Best Book of the Year, and a A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year. Capturing readers from teens to adults, this is a book for anyone who has ever experienced love, loss, or the devastating cocktail of both. Nina LaCour is the author of the widely acclaimed Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You. She is also the coauthor, with David Levithan of You Know Me Well. Formerly a bookseller and high school English teacher, she now writes and parents full time.