Tuesday 26 July 2016

Review time! - Nina Is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi

Title: Nina Is Not OK

Author: Shappi Khorsandi

Genre: Contemporary, New Adult/NA, LGBTQ+ (M/F and F/F)

Release Date: 28 July 2016

Amazon: UK

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher, Ebury Press, via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

I love Shappi Khorsandi. Funny, smart, and just down-right awesome, she's one of my favourite comedians.

This book isn't comedy (no, no, and no,) but still, like the little magpie that I am, I saw her name on the cover and went 'ooh! shiny!'

And luckily the publishers granted my eARC request. Because otherwise I would have been very sad.

And sad bookish rebels aren't something you want on your hands.


Nina Swanson is 17. Her mum says she drinks too much. But mums worry like that.

Every 17 year old has the odd drink, right? Every 17 year old gets into clubs if they can. Every 17 year old gets drunk.

Every 17 year old starts the day with a vodka shot or two...right? Every 17 year old does stuff with strange men...don't they?

It's normal to not be able to remember what you did, and with who... isn't it?
Except it isn't. And things are going to get dramatic.

Because Nina? She's not OK. Not even close.

Best bits:

For a start, can we have a big freaking round of applause for Nina as a character?

I loved her. Realistic. Complex. But also just your normal girl, trying to find her way.

She was fab, and Khorsandi does an excellent job of not judging her, and taking us alongside in the spirit of not judging.

Also, a bi-sexual girl of mixed-race descent, with mental health problems? She's diversity on two legs, and it doesn't feel like a gimmick or tokenism, which is awesome.

And you really do root for Nina.

You want her to be alright. You want her to make it. Because Khorsandi weaves us into her life to the point where you do care about her.

A big shout-out has to go to Max, the father of Nina's best friend, Beth, who single-handedly manages to be the most capable parent (and not just to his own kid,) and least douche-bag-like member of the male gender, in this book.

Well done Max, well done.

Khorsandi skips and dances along the lines of sensitive subjects - showing a deftness of prose which is more than impressive.

Doubly so when you consider that this is her first novel (her previous book, A Beginner's Guide to Acting English (UK - US) was an account of her family's immigration to the UK.)

This was one of those books that leads you on and on with very little chance of letting you go.

You have to find out what happens next. You have to see what will happen to Nina.

It's not a choice - it's mandatory to read and finish this book, even when you're mentally screaming WHY BOOK, WHY?!?!?! at the top of your metaphorical lungs at all the feels.


You still have to read it. You have to. Go, go read it now. It's excellent.

GO READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!

Not so great bits:

This is not one for people who are offended by swearing. Like, seriously. Lots of swearing. Many times. On pretty much every page.

I personally could've done with a little less detail on the ugly-drunken-sex front. Just saying. It was... yeah... less detail would've been lovely.

Realistic, I suppose, but I can see some people being down-right offended by the grim sexy-times.

There're a lot of issues which could be distressing to people here - including, but not limited to (because man, there is a lot going on in this book,):

  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • consent issues
  • mental health issues
  • alcoholism
  • family issues
  • suicide
  • trolls
  • 'slut-shaming'
  • emotionally abusive relationships

See? Told you there was a lot going on in this book.

It's not one for the faint of heart, quite plainly. There's some serious sh** going down here. So be warned.


If your interest is even slightly piqued by this review, go read the book.

Go on. Go read it. I'll wait.

Go. Read. The. Book. ;)

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