We Are Not Okay

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Member Reviews

I found aspects of this book really wonderful. Ullana and Trinas stories in particular. I felt they were really strong and wonderfully relatable. 
However, I didn't enjoy the Lucy storyline it felt forced and I don't like texts that undermine the concept of Abortions when 1 in 3 women have them! (especially when the book is aimed at young people) This text makes it look like having a baby at 17 will fix all your problems and as a dear friend of someone who did that I can say it definitely isn't true! 
I wish the Sophie storyline had been more complex and in depth. I think it had the capability of being incredible, but there wasn't quite enough of her journey to be satisfying to me. 
Overall I think there are a lot of good moments but also a fair few weaker ones. I'd say the book was good but not great.
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I was really disappointed with this book. The synopsis sounded really good. I did not like the writing style and I could not get interested in any of the characters. Sorry.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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This novel is perfect for spreading awareness of how utterly damaging a simple rumour can be, how quickly a snide remark can destroy someone's life. I don't think intense bullying is discussed enough in childrens, teen and YA books, we need more emphasis on showing how awful bullying is and how to stop it.

This book follows four very different girls, all of which are in the same year in the same school. Have you heard of the phrase that you never know what someone is going through? Well that is the entire concept of this book. Each of these girls have a reputation, whether it's for being quiet, outgoing, a typical good girl or popular. But these reputations are only what people assume.

Through their own perspectives we're given an insight into the different issues each of these girls are facing. Lucy is in denial over many things, including the end of her relationship. Ulana is having to lie to her parents to  keep her relationship a secret. Trina has been abused but is struggling to confide in anyone. And Sophia is feeling pressured by her boyfriend.

The worries of these four teenage girls are very real issues that young women across the UK are facing. Through this book I would hope that teenagers would realise how speaking out, confiding in someone and being honest will help them, that they don't have to face anything alone. 

It's a fairly impactful novel that discusses some very difficult topics. I would definitely recommend this book, but please make yourself aware of the trigger warnings.
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I read this book in one sitting. Initially I found it quite hard to get into, but I am glad I persisted, My only comments would be I didn't like how Trinas POV was a diary entry, and I don't feel like each issue got properly explored, and feel as though Steves punishment was very unrealistic.
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This was very very good. It switches between 4 characters that are very different to each other. Personally i thought Ulana’s pov was the most noteworthy. Her depiction of being a teenage muslim girl was honest and bright and didn’t subscribe to stereotypes. The other storylines were issues that I think are very common but it was still fascinating to read their thoughts. I thought Lucy’s growth was great. Def was rooting for her. Trina was also great and her relationship with Lucy was one of the main highlights of this. 
Sophie was interesting in that I didn’t feel that connected to her. Her storyline was dealt with in a very tone appropriate way which i appreciated
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I am so disappointed in this book, After reading what it was about I thought it was going to be a book that I devoured in one sitting but instead it almost became a DNF. 
I didn’t enjoy the writing style at all, I had no emotional connection to anyone in the story  despite what each of the four main characters were going through. It was just so boring, I had to force myself to finish it! 
I did give We Are Not Okay two stars but only because the topics covered are important, especially for teenagers to understand their actions have consequences and to know it’s ok to speak up.
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Thanks to HQ and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Sometimes it feels like YA novels are fitting more and more into the New Adult genre than Young Adult, this book however is firmly in the YA camp. Despite its adolescent target audience, there are some tough issues explored here.  The book follows several teenage girls at Secondary school and their relationships with each other and the other people in their lives. 

Some of the issues explored in this book include sexual assault, slut shaming, revenge porn/cyberbullying, drug use, racism and suicide. It reminded me a little of Laura Bates’ “The Burning” and explored similar themes. 

The issue I have with most of these contemporary YA books seems it rear its head in every book I read of their type – the characters are really stereotypical. There’s always an oppressed Muslim girl, there’s a bitchy girl who secretly has a heart of gold – it’s like authors are trying to fill a bingo card of teenage tropes. I feel like really concentrating on one or two of them would be more fulfilling from a reader’s perspective.  

My main issue with the novel was the writing style. I couldn’t help comparing it to “The Burning” and it just felt a little...flat?  It’s not bad by any means, it just felt somewhat simplistic.  

Overall, this book deals with some important issues but I don’t think it will stick in my mind as long as similar books did. The playlist idea at the beginning of chapters was a really cool idea however, and not something I've seen before.
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This book was an enjoyable read, and had some important messages that young readers should listen to.

I thought the characters came across well. The book focuses on four girls, each with their own issues surrounding how they are treated when it comes to their reputation and boys. When each character shows their perspective, you see a unique personality for each girl and it shows how differently they react to bullying and shaming towards themselves and the other girls. The boys in this book were also written well. I thought the story was paced well, and the story easily kept my interest.

This was an interesting story and it had some important messages which everyone could use. Talk about your problems, don't carry them alone and let them build up. If you're not comfortable doing something, stand your ground, be firm. Be careful who you share private things with and don't hurt other people.
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A powerful thought-provoking look at what happens when young girls are silenced.
This is a novel that takes hold of you on the first page and throws into a hurricane of emotions as the story unfolds. It's unflinchingly honest and beautifully written.
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We Are Not Okay - Natalia Gomez

When I was at school it felt like there were children's books and there were adult books and nothing in between. I think teenage years at my school would have been so much easier to navigate if more books like this had existed. This was a pretty hard hitting book about several girls in the same year at school and how they interact with each other. It reminded me a lot of The Burning by Laura Bates which I read earlier this year and like that book, I feel like this needs to come with trigger warnings.

This features slut shaming, rape, assault, revenge porn, cyberbullying, substance abuse, racism, suicide and talk of abortion. So you know, if any of those things are hard for you be aware before reading. Ok then - house keeping over, let's tell you a little bit more about We Are Not Okay.

If only they could have spoken out.
Lucy thinks she’s better than the other girls.
Maybe if she’s pointing fingers at everyone else, no one will see the secret she’s hiding.
Ulana comes from a conservative Muslim family where reputation is everything. One rumour -
true or false – can destroy futures.
Trina likes to party. She’s kissed a lot of boys. She’s even shown her red bra to one. But she didn’t consent to that
night at Lucy’s party. So why doesn’t anyone believe
her?
Sophia loved her boyfriend. She did anything for him, even send him photos of herself. So why is she the one being pointed at in the hallways, laughed at, spat at when it was him who betrayed her trust? 

The first thing I loved about this book was that there was a playlist at the beginning for you to enjoy while reading. Idk about you, but I am someone that loves to listen to music when I read and really immerse myself in the lives of these characters. The music choices really helped set the mood for this story, so if you have the opportunity, do try and read it while listening to them. They're all pretty good too. So that's also a plus!

Another plus for me was the fact that one of our narrators is muslim - I've been trying really hard to read more books with narrators who are POC or you know, not white. Ulana was a really interesting character too and was probably my favourite of the girls purely because she spoke the most sense.

Anyway, playlists and narrators aside, this is one of those books that makes me super happy that social media wasn't a thing when I was at school. Yes. I am that old. Natalia Gomes manages to weave together these girls' voices and their stories while also maintaining their individual personalities. She deftly explores all the usual fears that I remember from my teenage years while including all those extra intricacies of being a kid and all this going on while social media and cyber bullying is happening.

Sophia, Ulana, Lucy and Trina are all well rounded and even when they're being awful about each other you kind of understand their motives. It's heartbreaking in places, irritating in places and sweet in places with just about every other emotion in between.

While I was given an ARC of this, I did my usual thing of leaving it lying around for ages so this is out now. Soz.
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I was originally planning on giving this book 4 stars because of the themes of feminism and women's right -- it also has a playlist at the beginning! However, I did not like this book as much as I initially thought I would, which is why I lowered my rating.
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I loved this title. A new and fresh story of friendship, betrayal and growing up. A must read for anyone interested in YA. I am so glad I had the chance to read it and I will be waiting to see what the author publishes next!
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We are not Okay is a YA novel that deals with a lot of relevant and “on trend” issues. 
Four girls, a high school in Scotland, and a whole world of gossip & bullying. Not all of it the “traditional” bullying either. 
I know that at 40 (almost), I’m not the target audience. However, I have a 12 year old daughter in her first year at high school and it hasn’t gone well. It’s because of some of the things that the author has tackled head on in this book. So for that reason, I like to see and read books for this age, see how close it is in fiction to real life.
Well, the author is bang on here. Although you (as I) may not like many of these characters, they are an accurate portrayal. Some of the girls I knew at this age were vile human beings, downright nasty and evil to each other. The book and characters developed well as the plot continued to unfold. I found it a gripping read. Not entirely “enjoyable “ at times but gripping all the same. 
A well designed and executed story that I’d recommend for (teenage) kids and adults of them alike.
Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for my arc. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
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I wanted to like this book because I liked the of the concept behind it and it had a playlist. How can you resist a a playlist? The book follows four girls in secondary school who each deal with different forms of bullying. I just could not get into this book, I didn't care for any of the characters very much, I didn't realy like the writing style  and at times I just found myself skim reading it. I got to 38% before calling it quits.
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I don’t think I was the target audience for this book. It’s a YA book about four girls each dealing with contemporary issues, but the subject matter and setting meant it felt very “teenage”. I enjoy YA novels but this one was at the younger end of the scale and I wasn’t feeling it at all. I reached about 20% before I called it a day.
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All is not well at Birchwood High School, located in a small town near Glasgow, Scotland. Underneath the veneer of respectability and proper school rules, lies a culture of shaming, gossip and bullying. It is in this fictional setting that Natália Gomes sets her latest young adult novel We Are Not Okay which explores the treacherous paths teens must traverse in an age where every step is captured and shared on social media.

We Are Not Okay is told by four narrators in short, alternating chapters, making it almost impossible to put down. Sophia is almost ready to take her relationship to the next level with her boyfriend Steve until he betrays her in the most public way possible. Lucy is hiding a terrible secret but she knows that as long as she works to destroy the lives of others, it will serve to deflect attention away from her.

Ulana is a Muslim student, recently moved over from Morocco, who stands on the sidelines of Birchwood society. She knows that just one wrong step could bring dishonour to her family. Trina knows she will never go to university and despite her reputation, has only gone as far as kissing boys. She definitely didn’t consent to what happened at Lucy’s party.

It’s a train wreck waiting to happen and when it does, it impacts not only the lives of four girls but the whole community surrounding Birchwood High School.

We Are Not Okay ticked many boxes for me. The four protagonists showed great character development over the course of the story and had to make brave decisions in very trying circumstances. I didn’t always agree with or respect the decisions they made but ultimately they were all written in line with their characters and I respect that.
Ultimately this was a fast-paced novel that showed how quickly incidents can escalate in the small microcosm of a high school and it was good to read a book of this kind set in a school in the UK. Because of its focus on bullying and social media, this would be a great book to read in the classroom. Natália also writes under the name N. D. Gomes and I liked what I read here enough to add her novels Dear Charlie and Blackbird to my to-read list.

I give We Are Not Okay an excellent four out of five stars and recommend to fans of 13 Reasons Why, John Green and Jennifer Niven.
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We Are Not Okay was a book provided to me by Netgalley and I actually really enjoyed the story and the characters. The one thing that I didn’t particularly rate was the writing style, I thought it was a little simplistic and underdeveloped at times. In terms of themes and issues, there was a lot, almost too many. I’m not entirely sure why it was thought that they could cover all of it in a single but they definitely tried. I was disappointed that they didn’t pull it off, but I appreciated the attempt, purely because the things that are discussed are important and need to be talked about.

I think the biggest problem I had with We Are Not Okay was that I’m a little old for the characters, and I struggled to connect to them each as characters. However, this could have also been the writing style, especially as everything seemed to move extremely quickly and it had a kind of whiplash effect and I was left reeling from each event with very little time to recover and connect with what was happening. This was where more development could have played a bigger part in the storyline and would have made a better impact on me as a reader.

We Are Not Okay was a really good look at life within a high school and it deals with many issues that teenagers go through on a daily basis. I have mentioned it above that I think there were too many that weren’t dealt with particularly well. I wanted there to be depth and a sub plot for each of the characters and I just felt as though the issues were extremely superficial and lacked a sense of purpose within the story. I appreciated that these are issues do happen but I thought it might have been better to just focus on one and delve right into it.

I thought the ending of We Are Not Okay was a fitting end. I think it really highlights how hard hitting these issues can be when they aren’t dealt with as efficiently as they should be. I definitely think that each of the characters developed at an appropriate pace but I do wished there had been more about each of them and more about where they are as a person rather than the superficial bits, I think that would have made the ending so much better!

I do think I would recommend We Are Not Okay, it was a good read and a good look at the inner workings of a high school I just think it dealt with too many of those issues at once. I definitely think it would be good for someone who was slightly younger than I am. But I did really enjoy the book and the story.
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The story centres on the viewpoints of four girls at school; Trina (the one with the bad reputation), Lucy (the bully), Sophia (the shy one in thrall to her boyfriend), and Ulana (the one from a conservative Muslim background). All of them have secrets which include pregnancy, sexual assault, and revenge porn, and don't feel as if they can talk to others about them. 

I thought the book fairly accurately described the isolation that some teenage girls can feel from their peers and also the pressure that they are put under. I initially thought the book was going to deal with abortion in a different way to the usual trope which we get on TV, in films, and in most books, but this went the same way. Maybe it's because it's YA, I don't know.  I was also disappointed with the fact that Sophia's boyfriend, Steve seemed to be forgiven for his involvement in things rather too quickly. 

Themes/TWs: bullying, slut-shaming, revenge porn, teen pregnancy, abortion/family planning, suicide.

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, HQ, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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I gave this book 3.5 / 5 stars


"They’ll say it was my fault. All my fault.

They’ll say it was because I was drunk.

They’ll say it was because I wore a short skirt.

Because I had make up on, red lipstick, black eyeliner – adult make up.

Because my top was low-cut.

Because I wore a lace bra.

Because

Because

Because it’s always the girl’s fault. Never the guy’s. And most certainly, always my fault." - We Are Not Okay


My opinions on this book really changed as I progressed through it. And I even have comments to balance my initial issues with the book. I didn’t like the first half for a plethora of reasons. It felt too gossipy high school hell all over again. But there’s a moment when it hits the halfway mark and the novel really starts to form all these different paths, and that’s when it really started to feel like it had more depth than just school drama. By the end it felt like a calls to arms of the way we treat others and the struggles that you don’t realise others are facing.

The most important part to address is the way in which this book deals with so many issues that young teens are currently having to go through. The portrayal of the school, the cutthroat attitude, and using social media as a weapon was done really well. It felt real. The book touches on various issues such as revenge porn, body image, the internet, religion as a dividing factor, teen pregnancy, sexual assault, and mental illnesses. The second half is a heavy read. There’s a lot going on and it’s not the easiest topics.

"Why is it that my daughter is the one sitting here like she’s being punished for this while he continues to attend school and be with his friends like nothing happened." - We Are Not Okay, 

I teared up several times near the end. There are some truly powerful and heartbreaking moments. The worst thing is reading this but realising how often and how easy it is for what has happened in the book, to happen in schools across the world. And because of that, it’s something that every teen should have to read. Due to the nature of some topics I’d suggest 14 and above, any younger completely depends on the maturity of the individual.

The book follows journal style entries from the four characters, Sophia, Ulana, Lucy and Trina. At first, I struggled with this. The first half doesn’t feel like there’s anything happening than typical drama, and I felt like I was rolling my eyes and back in the middle of hell more than anything. It also felt slightly lacking because there wasn’t a strong sense of world building, which makes sense if its journal entries, but helped make it seem a little weak. It wasn’t until after the party, where everything started to happen and I realised why there isn’t much world building. The lack of description of the school represents the way in which these scenarios could happen anywhere, not just this particular setting. Also, it’s told in blog entries. Girls aren’t going to spend five minutes describing the hallways.

By the end, the writing still felt a tiny bit too cheesy, but it gets the message out loud and clear. If you read this and struggle with the first half like I did, sit through it until you’re 60-70% through and then decide. The pace changes, there’s complete character arcs, and the whole time its so convincing that this is actually happening.

Overall, this is one of those books that discusses issues that teens and young adults are facing day in day out. It truly captures the harsh side of high schools and the way in which social media can be turned into a weapon. This book covers so many problems that any reader will be able to take something from reading this. It’s an important read.
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I loved that this story took place in a Scottish high school and the description and atmosphere made me imagine my own Hugh school years and I could imagine the events in the book taking place there. 
The book tackles a lot of relevant and pertinent issues which teenagers face such as peer pressure, social media, bullying, family pressures, feeling included, finding your own identity. The story is told from the viewpoint of four main characters and it is easy to dislike, empathise and support them throughout the story. It was great to see the different story arcs come together and then go off on unexpected directions. I really enjoyed this story and think it would be an invaluable read for any teenagers in your lifetime fe or adults who need a reminder of what being a teenager trying to find their way in the world is like.
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