TITLE: Watch Over Me
AUTHOR: Nina LaCour
RELEASE DATE: September 15, 2020
PUBLISHER: Penguin Teen, Dutton Books for Young Readers
GENRE(S): YA Contemporary, Magical Realism, Found Family
Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Teen and Dutton Books for Young Readers for my gifted DRC of this title in exchange for my honest review.
Nina LaCour delivers another emotional knockout with Watch Over Me, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Printz Award-winning We Are Okay.
Mila is used to being alone. Maybe that’s why she said yes to the opportunity: living in this remote place, among the flowers and the fog and the crash of waves far below.
But she hadn’t known about the ghosts.
Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a job and a place to stay at a farm on an isolated part of the Northern California Coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home, a real home. The farm is a refuge, but also haunted by the past traumas its young residents have come to escape. And Mila’s own terrible memories are starting to rise to the surface.
Watch Over Me is another stunner from Printz Award-Winning author Nina LaCour, whose empathetic, lyrical prose is at the heart of this modern ghost story of resilience and rebirth.
Watch Over Me from Nina LaCour read like a gauzy veiled dream. Telling the story of Mina, a teenage girl living in foster care, who gets invited to live on a farm on the California coast. This farm is run by Julia and Terry, a couple who have, over the years, fostered over forty children at the ocean side property. This is a fresh start for Mina, who is haunted by her past. While Terry and Julia know some of the made-public details about what happened during Mina’s childhood, they don’t know the real truth and Mina is terrified that if they knew, they wouldn’t want her.
As a new resident on the farm, she is to become teacher to the only student, Lee, a boy who seems to be just as haunted by his past as she is. The two form an immediate bond and she vows to be there to protect this young boy. But, the farm is haunted; haunted by ghosts that roam free in the night. They are not scary, but just a normal part of this estate. She begins to form friendships with her peers on the farm and just when it seems that a happy and normal life here could be a real possibility, things from her past start to encroach on her, filling her mind and strangely, manifesting in her daily life.
In this book, Mina must learn how to reconcile her past in order to exist in the here and now. Will she be able to live a happy life on the farm with these great new people who are becoming her new family or will her past come back to burn everything down?
This was a wonderfully quiet and atmospheric story that lulled me into a happy calm while reading it. The writing of Nina LaCour is strange and beautiful and completely pulled me under it’s surface, leaving me floating along the waves of the past and present.