Date Published: 11/17/2020
Six years ago, Anna Williams-straight-A student, cheerleader, and all-around golden child-vanished.
Ever since, her younger sister, Katie, has drifted through life, wracked with guilt, grief, and anger over Anna’s unsolved disappearance. But when her own future reaches a breaking point, Katie takes the investigation into her own hands. She searches for answers in her sister’s missing person’s file and discovers that some questions aren’t so easily answered.
Through police memos, interrogations, and excerpts from Anna’s diary, Katie breaks down the carefully crafted façade Anna left behind and uncovers the dark truths of her life in the months before she vanished.
For readers of Courney Summers and Sarah Dessen, Fine is an unsettling, surprising, and ultimately hopeful mystery that will break your heart and put it back together again.
“How are you?”
The answer to this question is so nauseatingly predictable. My programmed response is to light up with a great big smiling “Good.” Sometimes it might be “Great” or “Pretty good.” I use “Okay” if I can’t muster a smile at all. I might say “No complaints here” if I’m annoyed by the transparency of the question poser and therefore feel the need to channel my grandpa ironically. My classic, however, is “Fine.” That one fits best when what’s being said isn’t as important as what’s not being said. Fine is neither good nor bad. It is acceptable, satisfactory, or adequate. It’s fine. Period. End of discussion.
Of course, my response is always quickly followed by a reciprocal “How are you?” which can be modified with an extra-long “ouuuuu” or extra-high “ou,” depending upon how important it is to make the other person believe my sincerity. It is simply good manners to respond quickly and in kind. Plus, it keeps people focused on what they really care about—themselves.
Although I have mastered the art of handling this ridiculously mind-numbing interaction, I do wish people would just stop asking the question at all. There are a number of other suitable expressions to throw at one another in passing, so why use one that actually necessitates a response that is almost always a lie? We could say “Nice seeing you” or “Hey there” or even stick to a solid head nod. It seems to me we should say what we mean, and if we mean, “I see you,” then say that. Don’t start a conversation that requires a response from me if you aren’t going to care about what my answer actually is. That, Miss Manners, is actually rude.
About the Author
AmyLea Murphy is the author of Fine, a young adult novel that blends the mystery of Sadie with the poignancy of Sarah Dessen. Inspired by Gayle Forman and Jennifer Niven, AmyLea enjoys writing about life-changing moments that unearth the resilient beauty of the human spirit in the hopes it empowers her readers to embrace life in all of its messiness. When she isn’t writing, AmyLea can be found dancing and singing in the car with the windows down. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.