Book Review: Nina is Not OK by @ShappiKhorsandi @PenguinUKBooks #YA


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…


"I’m not being stupid, I’m being an arse. I’m being a brat. It’s hard to stop once I start."

I've closed the final page on Nina is not OK and there are so many things Im feeling and so many things that I want to say that it's almost overwhelming. 

I want to talk about everything in this book but I can't because I would never want to spoil this amazing piece work for anyone else. 

First of all, please don't be discouraged by the first few pages. The writing style is conversational, from the point of a 17 year old girl called Nina. It took me a couple of pages to settle in but once I did there was no going back. 

I went through such a range of emotions while reading this: shock at Nina's self destructive behavior. I smiled at her humor. I admired her friend Beth and the powerful positive effect she had on Beth's life. I felt such anger, both for her and towards her at various points. 

‘You’re supposed to be a feminist, Beth!’ ‘I am, doesn’t mean I have to think everything you do is OK. It’s not OK because you don’t feel OK about it.’

Like Asking for It by Louise O Neill, Nina is not OK delivers powerful messages on alcoholism, sex and slut shaming. All topics that highly relevant right now. 

Nina realises that it sometimes takes the people around you to face you and tell you, no you are not OK. You have a problem. You need help. Like most people Nina denies that anything is really wrong until her entire world comes crashing down around her. 

"I’m a different person when I’m drinking. Sounds mad, because it clearly is me, but it’s not me. I want to stop. I want to be able to just drink normally and have fun."

She begins to realise she is not just another teen whose had a few too many on a night out. She wakes up to the fact that she is caught in cyclone of destructive behaviour. 

But does that mean the world will turn on its axis to suit is just because we sort ourselves out? No? 

"Booze sits its arse down in your life, pretends to be your friend, then trips you up, kicks you and throws rocks at you. You push it away; it runs back at you harder and knocks you over. You barricade your door against it, and it’ll climb in through the window. If you promise yourself you won’t drink, it’ll laugh at your promise, drag you screaming to the ground and batter you unconscious."

Trouble was like a domino effect when it involved Nina. But it took such bravery for her to face and tame her 'dragons.' 

Shappi Khorsandi should be extremely proud of this book. She didn't just emulate the teen experience she utterly embodied it in this book. The writing is raw, honest and utterly gripping. It's been one of my favorites of 2016 so far. 

I look forward to reading more from this author.


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