I received this book from Penguin Teen through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
First off, can we just admire this cover? Like, I absolutely love how beautiful it is. And the contents match it. This book was so beautiful and healing for me, I couldn’t put it down. With less than 300 pages, this was a book I devoured in two sittings – 50% before bed, 50% when I woke up. I really enjoyed Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour and couldn’t stop myself from reading.
Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
This is a beautiful book about grief and loss and I love the way Nina tells this story. Kids in the foster care system not only have to deal with the loss of their past, but the acceptance that it is something they will never be able to return to. We see that loss in Mila as she moves to a remote farm up the California coast after graduating high school. She takes up a job as a teacher for other foster kids and comes to find that the farm is haunted.
Mila struggles with feelings of grief, shame, and whether she is truly a good person. Her mother was a teen mom who emotionally abandoned her after getting into a new relationship with a psychologically abusive man. Seeing Mila pulled from school, not given basic necessities, and dealing with her mother’s obsession with Blake is not easy to read through. But in contrast to her love and care for Lee, her student, and her other friends, it makes me happy to see that Blake didn’t hurt her too badly. Although, he did hurt her.
And the symbolism in this book is what makes it so beautiful – the ghosts that roam the grounds at night are scary, but are there with a purpose. One thing I did have an issue with was how Mila talked about two of her “coworkers”, I guess we’ll call them that. Two adults were in a relationship together and it seemed Mila was either infatuated with their relationship or in love with them (it’s really hard to tell). The way she talks about their interactions was kind of odd and at times made me uncomfortable.
But that could be because of me, I’m not sure. Either way, I really liked this book and thought it was very well written.
Overall, this book was so beautifully written as Mila works through the ghosts of her past and her grief. The loss of her family and her life before Blake is heartbreaking, but the new family she gains shows that with loss comes new beginnings too. Honestly, it really helped me go over some of my own grief and find acceptance within myself. I really enjoyed this book and the lessons Mila learns. I can’t wait to check out Nina’s other books!
This was a strong // 5 stars for me!
Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour releases on September 15th, 2020 and I have linked my indie bookstore if you’re interested in preordering a copy today!
If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out Nina’s other works, We Are Okay.
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