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A Book Review of “Watch Over Me” by Nina LaCour

Author:

Rose is an enthusiastic writer and reader who publishes articles every Thursday. She enjoys all book genres, especially drama and fantasy.

What’s the Big Deal?

With her breakthrough debut novel Hold Still, YA author Nina LaCour caught the attention of many booksellers, critics and readers. Now, five books and eleven years later, after amassing a clever following and plenty of praise, LaCour has released Watch Over Me, another astounding story about past ghosts (and real ones) and what to do when the past starts catching up to you. After winning the Michael L. Printz award for her poignant writing in 2017’s We Are Okay, both readers and fellow authors have eagerly awaited Watch Over Me—and true to from, LaCour has given us the gift we never knew we needed.

“Watch Over Me” by Nina LaCour

“Watch Over Me” by Nina LaCour

Plot Summary

18-year-old Mila has just aged out of the foster care system, and while this might spell disaster for some, it means the chance of a lifetime for Mila. She’s offered a simple teaching job at a secluded farm in North Carolina—and how could she say no? Ready to leave her old life behind and find a real home amidst other kids just like her, Mila accepts, and by that Sunday, she’s there.

It doesn’t take long for Mila to meet everyone and learn the ways of farm life. The pair who run the farm, Terry and Julia, are friendly and kind; the other interns, Billy and Liz, are just the same. The little kids, the smaller orphans, love Mila right away—but one stands out from the rest. Lee, a nine-year-old haunted by a past of his own, is to be Mila’s student, and they form a bond like neither of them had ever known before.

But in this strange, isolated world, it turns out that some information had not been disclosed to Mila, and she winds up taking two steps forward and one step back—for how can she possibly learn from her pain when it keeps reliving itself over and over again? In the end, although the farm is wonderful and it’s clear her chosen family loves her, there’s something about it that wants to dig up the past—and Mila isn’t sure if she’s ready for that.

Quick Facts

  • Author: Nina LaCour
  • Pages: 261
  • Genre: YA coming-of-age, ghost story
  • Ratings: 4/5 Goodreads, 4.3/5 Barnes & Noble
  • Release date: September 15, 2020
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

To Read or Not to Read?

I recommend this book if:

  • You’re a versatile reader, having enjoyed authors like David Levithan, Ellen Hopkins, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, or Jandy Nelson
  • You like writing that sometimes sounds like poetry, with figures of speech and rhythmic lines
  • You’ve ever been “chased” by something in your past
  • You have an affinity for ghosts or the supernatural
  • Family troubles or foster care have ever been a part of your life
  • You know what it’s like to be lonely or to be alone; LaCour generally seems to write for the melancholy

‘When you get scared in your chest and your stomach, you could try to invite what scares you in. Pay attention to it. Let it play back in your memory. I’m only understanding it myself, but I think we have to face the things that scare us in order to move on from them. It might be the only way to stop being afraid.’

— Nina LaCour, “Watch Over Me”

Reviews

Watch Over Me is LaCour’s latest novel and she has done it again. Nina LaCour is one of those authors whose gorgeous writing style you could pinpoint with just one line and her signature melancholic tone is there from the very beginning. LaCour is a master when portraying that sense of longing and self-doubt lonely people feel when trying to connect with others. . . Evocative and delicate, her words are a force of nature.” —The Nerd Daily

“Richly atmospheric and both haunting and hopeful, Watch Over Me is a rewarding novel about a young woman on the brink of a new life.” —Bookpage.com

Official Book Trailer:

The Takeaway

Nina LaCour has always been a master of taking grief and loneliness and turning them into something beautiful. She’s the kind of author who makes you remember what words can do; the kind of author who can make you shudder solely by reading a line and seeing yourself in it. For anyone who’s ever been tangled too deep in their past or is haunted by themselves and their decisions—or even anyone who likes pretty words and knows loneliness—Watch Over Me is an achingly beautiful gift to make you feel less alone.

Comments

Rose McCoy (author) from West Virginia on October 30, 2020:

Thanks for reading, Dora! Glad you enjoyed. :)

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 30, 2020:

Although I'm far from being a YA, this author sounds like one I would like to read. Thanks for your helpful review.