Nina Is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi
Publisher: Random House/Ebury Publishing (28 July 2016)
Genre: New Adult, Older Teen, Adult, Teen Issues
Disclaimer: Thankyou to the Publisher for the D-ARC
in exchange for my unbiased, honest review
Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?
Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before , then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…
A dark and sometimes shocking - coming of age novel from one of the UK’s leading comedians. NINA IS NOT O.K. will appeal to fans of Caitlin Moran and Louise O'Neill.
I am so excited about this one...This is going to be big ... big !
Sometimes an author can get writing about troubled teens so wrong. For instance, characters are written to be way too angsty and antagonistic with explicit, and sometimes laughable sex scenes, and using a barrage of crass language just for shock value can really be a turn off for a mature reader; or writing in too literary 'a style', again may put off its intended Teen/YA audience by boring them half to death with preachy dialogue.
Shappi hits it right on target every time with just the right balance of crude, lewd behaviour from its rebellious, antagonistic (inwardly desperately confused and unhappy) teen for both an Adult and Teen/YA reader to want to read.
We first encounter Nina, in a seriously drunken state, in a taxi with her knickers in her hand. Nina cannot remember very much at all after being thrown out of a club for giving a 'blow job' to someone at the bar.
I only intended to peruse the blurb to find out about the book. I finally put it down two days later after I'd finished it.
Nina was like watching a car crash, I wanted to look away but just couldn't do it, I had to keep watching as she spiralled into a never ending whirling dark hole.
At times I thought out loud 'no Nina don't ...oh too late you did', and 'O.M.G. I can't believe you just did/said that'
The second half does ramp up on the emotion side with things becoming rather more darkly disturbing. That said, 'Nina Is Not OK' is full of hope, forgiveness and surviving to maybe screw up another day, but luckily Nina has some great friends and with support from people who love her hopefully Nina Will Be OK. With wit and humour laced throughout, with one or two cringe worthy laugh out loud moments, and considering the subject matter, Shappi has written a positive uplifting tale about an out of control teen learning to live with, and respect herself and to not allow others to treat her so badly.
In 'Nina Is Not OK', Shappi's writing style is full on hectic and I wondered if she could sustain the pace without it becoming monotonous, but she did and it didn't. It was brilliant and fabulously written and I loved it !
I know it's probably not going to be for everyone due to the sexual content and bad, very bad language and lewd situations but because of the seriousness of the subject matters involved including, slut-shaming, alcoholism, and social media bullying, to mention just a few, it's one I'd wholeheartedly recommend for anyone who is or ever was, or just needs a reminder of just how difficult it is to be, a teen.
Favourite Character: I absolutely loved the 'too honest for anyone's good' Trish, the hopelessly tactless 'stand-by' friend of Nina's
Least Liked Character (understatement !) : ALEX !