Nina LaCour is the author of one of my favorite books of all time, Everything Leads to You. I’ve been anxious about picking up her other books because I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to what I had experienced before. The synopsis of this book was interesting enough that I thought I would risk it and I’m glad I did.
Mila is an orphan who ages out of the foster care system and so she goes to a farm where lost children find a livelihood and a home. The only thing about this place is that it is haunted by ghosts. So many ghosts that Mila isn’t sure what to make of them at first. It’s casual, not scary. These ghosts just exist and it’s totally normal. That was actually a really interesting plot point to me. That these ghosts exist, they’re not scary, they’re just a fact of life and these people live their lives around them. Mila soon discovers that one of the ghosts is more difficult to bear and makes her unhappy, filled with anger and resentment. She has no idea why that one is so different from the others.
Her life has been difficult up to this point. She was orphaned, which in and of itself is a stressful and traumatic experience. But beyond that, she has dealt with abuse and we slowly learn about her and her life as the story goes on. For such a short novel, there is so much information and story and character development. LaCour is so great at being succinct and powerful in her writing. This story explores trauma and all the ways it can manifest, and it is handled with such care. I really loved how Mila explored and grew in this story and I think that it is meaningful whether you’ve experienced a trauma or not.
This experience has made me more hopeful about reading more of LaCour’s books and I’m really interested in reading We Are Not Okay after this. I don’t know when I’ll get around to it, but I actually will this time haha.