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 wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book apart from what I had read in the book description, but this has to be one of the most brutal and harrowing story’s I have ever read. Nina is seventeen and loves a drink, well what seventeen year old doesn’t? You may ask, but Nina takes drinking to the extreme, Nina is in fact an alcoholic and in denial. We first meet Nina when she’s thrown out of a nightclub after committing a sexual act. She is so drunk, she doesn’t have a clue what really happened that night. However, it’s a night that will come back to haunt her in the most awful way. Nina is a girl hell bent on self-destruction and soon her drinking is out of control, having sex with strangers, sometimes more than one! falling out with friends and family, and drinking herself into oblivion. When Nina does the unthinkable, her mother at her wits end forces her to go to rehab.
You can’t help becoming emotionally involved in Nina’s story as her life spirals out of control, as does the drinking, at times she wasn’t the most likeable character, she appeared needy and desperate for affection, although in her defence you can see why she’s this way as the story unfolds, but she also had a vulnerable side which was heartbreaking to read about, as she made one bad choice after another, putting herself in some very dangerous situations. Nina’s character was frighteningly realistic as was her relationship with her mother, I felt I was living every mothers worse nightmare,and the relationship with her little sister Katie was heartwarming to say the least, and added warmth to a dark tale. fraught with tension and emotion throughout, I found myself completely immersed in Nina’s story. This could have been a dark and very depressing read, but the author adds just the right amount of humour through Nina’s dialogue with friends and family to counteract this.
As Nina begins her recovery and explores the issues surrounding her drinking, you can’t help hoping she will be able to find the strength to live a life without alcohol, I found this part of the book very emotional to read as Nina comes to terms with the terrible and heartbreaking things she’s done whilst under the influence. Nina Is Not Ok is the definition of character driven, I can’t remember the last book where I became so emotionally involved with the characters or the plot, so much so I actually cried reading a few scenes.
Brutally honest and hard hitting Shappi Khorsandi deals realistically with the many issues facing teenagers today. Yes it’s an uncomfortable read at times due to the subject matter, and the author is very forthright in her writing, but in my opinion this made for a very powerful and realistic read. This book may not be to everyone’s taste due to the subject and sexual content, but in the authors defence this adds credibility to a shocking story. I would highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this book, whether your a teenager, a parent in fact I would go as far to say everyone should read this book, It’s the most tragic yet unexpectedly uplifting novel I’ve read all year.
5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Out of 5
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (28 July 2016)