Watch Over Me
Author: Nina LaCour
Page Count: 272
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Original Publication Date: 2010
Genre(s): Young adult, Contemporary, Fantasy
Mila has just graduated high school and aged out of the foster care system. She has no one and nothing. Maybe that’s why she accepts a job on a farm in the middle of nowhere, a place out of time and full of people like her: orphaned and haunted and alone. Though a refuge, the farm is haunted. There are ghosts everywhere. But these ghosts aren’t what haunts her—it’s her past that scares Mila the most.
Nina LaCour is a beautiful writer. Her novel We Are Okay had me in tears. I connected deeply to the main character—her struggles, her anxiety, her love and compassion, her entire story. The whole novel was perfection. So it was an easy decision to pick up Watch Over Me. But I’m very, very unsure of how I feel about it.
The novel is told in first-person POV from Mila’s perspective. Most chapters are set in present day, but some of them end with snippets from Mila’s past. Her memories. The story of how she became an orphan, why she’s haunted and afraid. In the present,
The novel is very introspective, per usual—heavy on our main character’s thoughts and inner dialogue. So you’d think it would be easy to fall in love with Mila. But it’s not. Though I felt bad for her, I did not connect with her emotionally. The story is about loss and grief. It’s about accepting your past, choosing your future, and confronting your ghosts. Such heavy topics, and yet I did not feel much of anything at all. I read other reviews where people cried while reading this novel, and I don’t get it.
Honestly, I felt like I was reading just to figure out the point of it all. I kept going and kept feeling underwhelmed. I understood what was going on early on, both with Mila’s past and the ghosts, so there was no big “ah ha” moment. And because I wasn’t experiencing an emotional connection to the main character or even the story itself, it just felt very boring. I hate to say that about a LaCour novel, but it just wasn’t for me.
Overall, this is a really strange story. I’m not sure who this novel is for, but I don’t think it was for me. I hope if you love LaCour, or love these types of ghost stories, you’ll enjoy the novel much more than I did. It’s certainly unique, and written well, so I’ll at least give that to her. It was definitely an experience.