Better Than Okay


Destiny Michaels, her cousin Dorian, and her lifelong friend Brian have been in and out of each other’s lives for years, and all end up living in Miami. Destiny loves music and writes about the music scene for a magazine. Even with the closing of the magazine, she doesn’t want to leave the business. After being brutally raped by someone she should have been able to trust, rebuilding her life, even with the help of her family and friends, doesn’t come easy.


Ms. Howard paints a wonderful story of friendship between three often-left-to-themselves-kids that has evolved into a strong bond not easily broken. The account of Destiny’s rape and recovery is brutal and harsh, and covered with the reality of having to rebuild a new life. There is journal writing, and texts between friends, none of which are offset and can be hard to follow during long conversations.  Although Destiny’s recovery happens at a realistic pace, she’s inside her head too much; conversations with her counselor could have counterbalanced that. The largest issue is the perfect Brian doing -a 180 over a line in the sand that doesn’t fit his personality, or the situation.  Destiny’s anger at him for that, and for holding back something big himself, is justified, yet pooh-poohed as unimportant. This moment of decision for them, and how it’s resolved, makes a little sense to the incredibly deep and well-thought out characters. Though a romance, and brilliantly written, this is an emotionally rough ride, with no kid gloves about rape, its consequences, and the effort it takes to recover. 


Julie York