“13 Reasons Why meets John Green and Jennifer Niven in We Are Not Ok – a powerful novel about what happens when girls are silenced. If only they could have spoken out.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Natália Gomes’ We Are Not Okay is “dedicated to the numerous campaigns and charities that challenge us on how we think and speak about sexual violence, bullying and feminism.” The book’s strapline reads, “Four girls. Four voices. All unheard,” and as the book unfolds we learn what this truly means.
This young adult novel tells the story of teenage four girls, attending the same school in Scotland, whose lives overlap and insect. The narrative is told through the eyes of; popular girl Lucy who points the finger at others to hide her own secret, conservative Muslim Ulana who is struggling to balance her family and school/social life, party girl Trina who did not consent to what happened at that party, and Sophia who loves her boyfriend until he betrays her trust.
These four girls aren’t all friends, in fact, some of them are even feuding enemies but soon they learn there are more important things than petty gossip and social media trolling. After unexpected events bring the characters together, they learn they have more in common than they first thought, they all feel lost, voiceless and unheard.
We Are Not Okay is a heart-breaking and cautionary tale about consent, victim blaming, bullying, mental health, and social media in the 21st century. This story of four fictional girls is a warning to readers about the real-life consequences of teenage tormenting and the possible repercussions of someone feeling unheard. It is a reminder to young readers to speak up when they feel unheard, whether it’s to a friend, family, teacher, or anyone they feel comfortable talking to.
With its gripping plotline, Natália Gomes’ We Are Not Okay successfully tackles issues of sexual abuse, consent and mental health with empathy, compassion and sensitivity. The book tells its readers, it’s time to say #WeAreNotOkay and that is okay.
Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog
Added 30th July 2020