11 Aug 2016



AMAZON.CO.UK BOOK BLURB: 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…

An Uncorrected Proof Copy (Nina Is Not OK is available in hardback on amazon.co.uk but is not available in paperback until February 2017). Sorry I'm unable to share a First Sentence or Memorable Moment.

SOURCE: A GoodReads win.

MY THOUGHTS: First love, underage drinking, is rape by a known assailant rape? (Nina for one is far from sure), 'victim shaming' via Social Media, the differing attitudes to the sexes when it comes to promiscuity - why is it the female is a slut, the male 'one of the lads'?

Of all of the books I've read this year I can't say this is exactly one of my favourites. Indeed, in lots of ways, it isn't even a read I can say I particularly enjoyed BUT, up there as one of the most thought provoking reads of 2016 - I'd highly suggest it as a good book for discussion by teens, parent(s)/those working with young people - it filled me with so many different emotions.

Left feeling old, surely we weren't like this as teenagers? I'm pretty certain alcohol wasn't as readily available. Left feeling positively bruised by all the less than savoury language - language that as regulars to Pen and Paper know is one of the very few things that will cause me to not finish a book and yet language that here gave an authentic voice to the seventeen year old Nina, an obviously sad and angry teenager on the verge of alcoholism. BUT most of all left feeling frustrated, disturbed, deeply saddened and ultimately compassionate towards her, Nina is without doubt a big character dealing with some huge issues in one of the most grittiest coming of age novels I have ever read.


ClaudineGueh@CarryUsOffBooks said...

Sounds terribly familiar. Over in Singapore recently, there's been a case of a girl who got so drunk on her birthday she couldn't recall if she'd been gang-raped by her 'friends.' I feel horrid for the girl. It is a huge issue and might serve as an important read for teen girls especially.

Tracy Terry said...

Yes Claudine, likewise there have been several such cases in the UK of late. As I said a great read for teens, their parents and even perhaps youth groups.

Literary Feline said...

Such a relevant book for today. Even among college students. This sounds like this is a worthwhile read.

Alcohol was pretty easy to come by when I was growing up. It wasn't something I ever gravitated towards, but I knew kids as young as ten and twelve who were getting into their parents liquor cabinets regularly. A couple of them were raped when in their teens at parties, much like you described in this book. They didn't have quite the same legal recourse they may have now, but they also didn't have social media to help perpetuate the stigma and victim shaming that came with it.

I always recommend Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak which also covers a similar subject matter. Speak is one I hope my daughter will read when she's older.

Kelly said...

Alcohol (and drugs, for that matter) were never difficult to obtain when I was a teen. As for your rape question - I tend to think no matter who is involved, if it's sex without consent (and someone who is drunk or impaired cannot rationally give consent), then it's rape.

Books like this make me so glad my children are adults. I do have grandchildren, but thankfully they aren't my responsibility! I would not want to be a parent in this day and age.

Sherry Ellis said...

This definitely sounds like a gritty book.

Melliane said...

It's true that it's a really interesting topic!

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds like it tackles some really serious issues.

I think that some social groups have always experienced such a level of chaotic behavior when young. In the part of The United States that I live in, I think that alcohol was more available to young people when I was teenager then it is today.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Hm... not sure if this one would be my cuppa either. I like the hard issues and coming of age theme, but I have a feeling that I would like the discussion that could come from it, but not the execution as much. Still and interesting issue(s).

The Bookworm said...

Sounds like it does tackle some tough issues. When I was a teen in the 90's alcohol was readily available and sadly, I think it still is for teens today.

Suko said...


Thanks for your honest, well-written review. I wish children would not "grow up" quite so fast.

Tracy, I've been away on a trip to Japan the past few weeks, but am back now.