Cover Image: Watch Over Me

Watch Over Me

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I truly wanted to enjoy this book. I think I would've enjoyed it more if it wasn't so heavy. It was not what I was expecting, but I'm sure others will enjoy.
Was this review helpful?
A huge thanks to Netgalley and Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It’s time for Mila to leave yet another foster home. She’s been offered a job as an intern to teach the children in Terry and Julia’s farm, a farm in the middle of nowhere, seemingly removed from time, that doesn’t even have cell service. Terry and Julia are renowned for adopting over forty foster children. Though Mila is hired to be an intern to teach and not a foster child herself, she has been assured that the farm can be home if she lets it. But she had to want it. And Mila really really did. This could be the second chance and the new home that she has been looking for. But when she gets to the farm she learns that it is haunted. As dreams and memories of her time at the skeleton house and her present reality start to collide into each other, will Mila be able to face what is haunting her or is the farm another place she’ll have to leave behind.

The first book of Nina Lacour’s that I’ve read was We Are Okay, a personal favourite of mine, and Watch Over Me is just as much of a masterpiece. Lacour writes the most beautiful stories of grief. Her ability to create an atmosphere in her stories is impeccable. There’s a mysterious, whimsical, almost fairytale-like air to this book. The way she unfolds the story is delicately and exquisitely done. Her characters are all so beautifully written. Even before their backstories are revealed, if at all, I instantly felt drawn to them and was able to feel the weight of their past. Watch Over Me is a ghost story like no other. This book is hauntingly beautiful and heart wrenching. It’s a great exploration of the themes of grief, guilt, second chances, and found family.

I will definitely be recommending this to everyone. I also cannot wait to purchase a copy of this for myself.
Was this review helpful?
This was... not for me. People rave about Nina Lacour's books, but if this is the norm, I don't get the hype. 
It was very dark and heavy, which isn't inherently bad, but there also wasn't really *any* positive element. The characters felt flat, the way the story came together felt like it was supposed to be a revelation but was generally meh. The ghost aspect was done in a very ~magical realism~ way. I guess I can see how someone would like this book, but that person was not me.
Was this review helpful?
A very gentle story which brings in touches of magical realism. It read as fairly different than LaCour's other books, but the writing style was very strong and quite lovely, and the sense of place (and food!) very well rendered. I found some of the characters to read a little thinly and I wonder if the text was meant to cross the line from atmospheric into sinister as often as I felt that it did, but overall it's a quietly great read. Recommend to fans of We Were Liars and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Was this review helpful?
This was the first Nina LaCour book I have ever read and I really enjoyed it! The characters were amazing to get to know!
Was this review helpful?
This was the first book I've read by Nina LaCour, and I can definitely understand why so many people love her writing. It was elegant, flowed nicely, and was one of my favourite aspects of the book. There was small flashbacks into Mila's past which were an enjoyable and effective way to tie in previous events. The main concept of the plot interested me a lot and the setting was very atmospheric. I definitely liked the characters, and my favourite character would have to be either Mila or Lee, who is the child she is in charge of on the farm. They both are very resilient and strong which I found to be really inspiring. Both characters develop and change together, each being an integral part in the other's journey. The message of found family was heartwarming and the emotions displayed in this book felt very real and genuine.

Watch Over Me is very much an internal journey, which made for the plot to be somewhat slow at times. However I know there is a lot of you that enjoy emotional journeys that are hard hitting, if you enjoy that, this is definitely the book for you! I also had thought there would be more of a scary aspect because of the ghosts, but not to fear, it was more eerie than frightening. I also would have loved for this book to be longer so that we could experience more of the other characters and their personalities.

I definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for an emotional journey in poetic prose. I gave this book a 3.5/5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ✨
Was this review helpful?
I found this book fascinating in the way that it tells its story. It's Nina LaCour, so the writing is absolutely gorgeous. I loved the author's other book We Are Not Okay, and what I loved in that book translated into this book, but with some rural eerieness.
Was this review helpful?
Mila is accustomed to feeling alone and unwanted. Growing up through foster care and with parents with questionable pasts,  she struggles to trust new people, but that alll changed when she moves to a farm on the Northern California Coast. This farm is a refuge for unwanted children, but the house has a secret. The ghosts of past residents who have escaped still haunt the people living there. When Mila meets Lee and becomes his closest confidant, she starts to remember her past in ways she hoped she would never have to think about again. This book was a beautiful representation of a found family and that there is light at the end of every darkness. 
There were many things that I enjoyed about this book. I loved how the author wrote her characters as people that we, as readers,  could deeply relate to on a personal level. Even though none of her characters are perfect, you can empathize with their feelings because of their past. There were also a few things that I didn't quite understand about the setting. I did feel as though I was thrust into the middle of the story, just because I didn't quite understand the background of the farm and the ghosts that live there. I feel like if the ghosts were a more central part of the story, I would have enjoyed it a little bit more. All in all, I did really enjoy this book and I would recommend to anyone who likes a modern ghost story.
Was this review helpful?
a quiet, rural contemporary fantasy about ghosts & loneliness. it was definitely solid...i mean, nina lacour is the queen of writing sad girls and emo times, how could it be anything but? the way this book handles trauma and finding family was well done. i just wish there had been a bit of a bigger punch & had i been more emotionally invested by the end i think this would have hit four stars.
Was this review helpful?
Well done! Although I would have liked more insight about the camp itself and some of the characters' relationships with one another are hard to understand, the lack of explanation adds to the sense of dread and fear building throughout the book. Whether or not the ending merits all that buildup is probably debatable, but credit is due for such an original take on a ghost story and the idea of being haunted. This would be a great story for a book club or other discussion group.
Was this review helpful?
Nina Lacour’s “Watch Over Me” is a beautifully haunting book.

Not sure what to expect other than hearing this book described as “magical realism”, this gorgeously written YA novel is a truly captivating tale of trauma and survival.  Main character Mila is a protagonist readers are certain to feel for and likely to remember well beyond the last page.  Mila’s story reminds of the importance of chosen family and the possibility of rebirth.

A lovely read.  A definite gem.
Was this review helpful?
I love LaCour’s writing so much. This book was quiet, sad, and unsettling. I couldn’t stop reading, trying to figure exactly what might be going on at this farm. Recommend for teens.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed the premise of this one as well as the character development. In the end, the length was a bit short for me.  I felt like the whole book could have been fleshed out a tad more, particularly the paranormal elements.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely stunning. This haunting tale is about loss and grief, but it is also about hope and family. 

I loved the story. It was quick, detailed, and deep in so many ways. I also fell in love with almost every character. Their connection to one another was so powerful it brought me to tears. 

I highly recommend this beautiful book to any YA reader.
Was this review helpful?
Watch Over Me is a beautiful, atmospheric, and heartbreaking story of trauma, grief, and discovery of self told through through the eyes of a girl who can see ghosts. I enjoyed this book tremendously and look forward to sharing it on my Instagram. Thank you for providing me with the eARC.
Was this review helpful?
“We have to face the things that scare us. It might be the only way to stop being afraid.”

Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour is beautifully atmospheric and a hauntingly sad story about Mila, an 18-year-old who has aged out of the foster care system and is given the opportunity to go live and work on an isolated farm. Mila is hired to teach the younger students and forms a connection with Lee, a boy who has a sad and tragic past, much like her own. A bond is formed and Mila feels an intense protectiveness over Lee. Mila soon fits in with her peers and is finally able to make meaningful friendships but when her past begins to sneak up on her, Mila must learn to cope with it. 

Mila is a fascinating character and her development over the course of the book is so well-done. She is mysterious and cautious, as all girls who harbor deep secrets are, but as I got glimpses in to her abusive past and how it formed her, my heart broke a little with each revelation.  I could understand her guilt, her protective mechanisms and her caution to become too close to anyone. Surrounded by ghosts, real and figurative, in a lovely setting in the California mountains, Mila, flawed, lonely but not alone anymore, will learn to trust again.

Wonderful YA novel that is both inspiring and poetic, a page turner that will surely break your heart but it just may put it back together again, too.
Was this review helpful?
So after reading the book, I'm not so sure about the cover... but putting that aside. I really enjoyed this one and read it in a single sitting. What I love about LaCour's writing is that she manages to be simultaneously poetic and to-the-point. Her novels are shorter than many others crowding the YA shelf, but they pack dramatic and emotional punches. This particular text is a ghost story, though not of the sort you might imagine at first. It's worth a read both for ghost lovers and non-ghost lovers alike. At it's core is a yearning to be accepted and loved for who we are. This book is about both the literal ghosts, but also those figurative ghosts of memories that seem to haunt us forever.

Mila has been in foster care since a fire that killed her mother's boyfriend left her homeless at age 11. Now, at 18, she thinks she has finally found a home.

She is invited to live and work on a farm in a remote area of Northern California. The couple who owns the farm care for as many foster children as they can in an effort to provide them with a good education and a loving home. Mila will teach some of the younger children, sell flowers at the farmer's market, and be of general help. In exchange she will be provided with food, housing, friendship, and love.

What no one warned her about was the ghosts.


One thing I particularly loved about this is that there's a period in the middle where I thought something sinister was going to happen. The ghosts were going to catch up with everyone and someone was going to die, etc. The usual horror story stuff. And then...instead it was magical. Instead of ending in running for her life, Mila was able to face her fears and gain what she needed - a loving home despite (or perhaps because of) the difficulties she had faced and the choices she had to make as a child.
Was this review helpful?
Watch Over Me from Nina LaCour read like a gauzy veiled dream. Telling the story of Mina, a teenage girl living in foster care, who gets invited to live on a farm on the California coast. This farm is run by Julia and Terry, a couple who have, over the years, fostered over forty children at the ocean side property. This is a fresh start for Mina, who is haunted by her past. While Terry and Julia know some of the made-public details about what happened during Mina's childhood, they don't know the real truth and Mina is terrified that if they knew, they wouldn't want her.

As a new resident on the farm, she is to become teacher to the only student, Lee, a boy who seems to be just as haunted by his past as she is. The two form an immediate bond and she vows to be there to protect this young boy. But, the farm is haunted; haunted by ghosts that roam free in the night. They are not scary, but just a normal part of this estate. She begins to form friendships with her peers on the farm and just when it seems that a happy and normal life here could be a real possibility, things from her past start to encroach on her, filling her mind and strangely, manifesting in her daily life.

In this book, Mina must learn how to reconcile her past in order to exist in the here and now. Will she be able to live a happy life on the farm with these great new people who are becoming  her new family or will her past come back to burn everything down?

This was a wonderfully quiet and atmospheric story that lulled me into a happy calm while reading it. The writing of Nina LaCour is strange and beautiful and completely pulled me under it's surface, leaving me floating along the waves of the past and present.
Was this review helpful?
**thank you penguin teen for the earc copy via netgalley


Twigger warning- ghosts, abuse, grief, nightmares

Well this book was super weird but in the most intriguing way possible. I couldn’t put it down because i was so caught up in what would happen next. Nina LaCour truly knows how to write about a character whose reaching so hard for love and acceptance and i think she does a great job at that. I was hoping for more of a romance with the two FF characters but i didn’t get much of it at all. But i know this book wasn’t intended for that to be the focus of the story in that aspect i did appreciate it. I enjoyed the writing style and how it went back to her past and felt a lot of sympathy for her which made the story deeply gripping.

This book releases September 15, 2020 and i highly recommend if you’re looking for a story that will escape you to a different perspective and keep your imagination to explore.
Was this review helpful?
Watch Over Me was a beautiful, yet eerie and atmospheric book about grief: going through it and overcoming it with the power to love yourself more, as well as the ability to love others. When I usually read a book about grief (last one was The Two Lives of Lydia Bird) I’m usually so overcome by sadness that I cannot get out of it —so that leads me to read about something happier and steer clear from grief for a while. But Watch Over Me didn’t exactly do that. There were some parts of Mila’s story that made me sad for her but I was more entranced at the author’s writing of grief and how it was depicted that I was able to see the beauty in it. As the reader, you’ll learn what causes Mila’s grief through flashbacks, but then the author brings you to present day which is more about Mila trying to move on and become stronger. Watch Over Me was a little different than my usual taste in books, but I was drawn to it because of the mention of haunting ghosts. Spoiler alert: the haunting ghosts were basically the characters’ past selves (their grief) which they needed to face. Anyway, I was able to read Watch Over Me and not think too much of it. There were no lingering thoughts or the need to take a break from reading. Sometimes that’s okay (at least to me anyway). I was able to read, acknowledge the beauty, and move on. This was my first Nina LaCour book. I’m looking forward to reading We Are Okay and anything else this author publishes.
Was this review helpful?