We Are All Completely Fine (2014)

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Don’t believe what the title is saying, nobody is. This novella collects various survivors of supernatural events (think the last, only surviving victim of a group of teenagers in your typical horror movie) for group therapy sessions and things go from bad to worse when it turns out that some of them have unfinished business.

Despite its limited space, the novella packs a lot of content, which is especially impressive when you consider its large cast and how the novella manages to give each of the characters their own unique voice and identity. As the title makes you expect, or even common sense, horror movie survivors go through their own unique hell even after they have survived. While it maps well on various psych conditions, the shared knowledge that there’s more to this world than we know it, and that few people believe it, sets those survivors apart from other trauma victims.

All of this comes out during the various group sessions, which allows the reader to get to know each of the characters in turn and which mostly avoids to common cliches you expect in such a group. Sure, it starts with stereotypes – the asshole, the silent one – but once it dives deeper into these characters it becomes obvious that there’s more to each of them and none of them is just a cardboard cutout easily sorted into just one drawer.

Once the long setup is over and we know all we need to, the novella switches from slow introspection to slightly faster action and tops it off with neat climax that still feels like a natural outcome of the earlier events. And then it leaves you with an itch to know what happens next to these characters, even if this particular story is over. Which is exactly how a good story should end.

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