Today I am happy to tell you about The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed.
Keep reading to learn more about this powerful book and be sure to enter the giveaway!
The Nowhere Girls
by Amy Reed
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 10th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.
Who are the Nowhere Girls?
They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:
Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.
Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.
Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.
When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.
Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.
Amy Reed was born and raised in and around Seattle, where she attended a total of eight schools by the time she was eighteen. Constant moving taught her to be restless and being an only child made her imagination do funny things. After a brief stint at Reed College (no relation), she moved to San Francisco and spent the next several years serving coffee and getting into trouble. She eventually graduated from film school, promptly decided she wanted nothing to do with filmmaking, returned to her original and impractical love of writing, and earned her MFA from New College of California. Her short work has been published in journals such as Kitchen Sink, Contrary, and Fiction. Amy currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats, and has accepted that Northern California has replaced the Pacific Northwest as her home. She is no longer restless. Find out more at amyreedfiction.com.
First, I feel I must mention that the book deals with rape and sexual assault so if you are triggered by this topic, I just felt that I should let you know.
Now onto my thoughts…
The Nowhere Girls is a powerful and emotional book that broke my heart and slowly put the pieces back together...a few times. What starts out as a story about three very different high school teenagers, soon became so much more than I expected as girls at a high school band together to stand up for themselves against a sexist culture within their town.
As for the girls who got the ball rolling...Rosina is Mexican-American with a large extended family that count her for everything from child-sitting to waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant. She dreams of escaping their small and forming a band…oh, and she's a lesbian. Then there’s Erin who has Aspergers making it difficult to read the faces and emotions of others, but she's trying. She also has a fondness for Star Trek and identifies with an android character from the show. Last we have Grace, the new girl in town who happened to move into the former town pariah’s room where she finds messages of despair and desperation carved in small places throughout the room. She has moved to town following her preacher mother’s firing from her old church and becomes friends with the interesting Rosina and Erin. Their friendship grows even closer when they begin to discuss Lucy Moynihan, the former town pariah.
So who is Lucy Moynihan? Well, despite the fact that most of her presence in the story comes from the thoughts and discussions of others, she is a very important character in The Nowhere Girls. Lucy and her family left town shortly after Lucy was gang-raped at a party. Nobody believed her, not even the adults who questioned her actions that night. Grace has moved into her old house and longs to know what happened exactly to her and becomes determined to get justice for her and other girls like Lucy.
After learning and observing how much the guys at school get away with when it comes to their sexist behavior and after seeing a disgusting website where guys discuss their “lays” and tips are given on how to basically date rape a girl and a whole lot of sexist stuff that just sickened me, Rosina, Grace, and Erin decide to create for an anonymous group for girls which becomes known as The Nowhere Girls.
This group empowers fellow female classmates and encourages them to stand up for themselves and each other. All of them are surprised to learn that they are not alone and we learn more about our main characters as well as their female classmates. Soon their group becomes more than any of them had expected as they gain strength and become a support system.
While the story might focus on a set of girls at a small high school and what happens there, it could easily be about girls anywhere. This happens everyday, somewhere. And there's always a girl too scared to say anything or a guy who wrongly thinks, “Well, I'm a guy. It’s what guys do.” And sadly there are also adults who will turn a blind eye…they don't want to acknowledge it, they victim-blame, or they simply don't believe it happened. But for each of these girls, guys, and adults, there are also one’s who feel the opposite…so there is hope. And I enjoyed how the author demonstrated this type of environment and left readers with a sense of strength and hope, or at least this reader.
Amy Reed did a wonderful job of giving her three main characters three distinct voices, personalities, and backgrounds. I could identify with a little bit in each of them. Alternating POVs only added to my enjoyment of the story and characters as we got a look at the thought processes and home lives of the girls.
Interspersed throughout the story we also get a glimpse at the thoughts of other girls as well as snippets from the disgusting, sexist website the boys post on. While the girls’ thoughts intrigued me and showed how girls can feel isolated even though many have similar thoughts they don't share, I could hardly stomach reading the website post that's how awful and sadly realistic they were. It's just sad to know that this is how many guys and girls think.
Amy Reed did a wonderful job with this book and topic. The Nowhere Girls is an emotional and powerful story with a hopeful ending. It was also a roller coaster ride of emotions reading this one as I felt everything from anger to sadness to joy to pride to frustration and more. And I really felt for and connected with all of the characters, but especially Erin. I don't know enough to feel comfortable commenting on the author’s portrayal of Aspergers, but Erin is the character who touched me the most especially as things from her past come back to the surface as she helps the group.
I could really keep writing because there is so much more that I want to say, but I better wrap things up, but just know that I loved this book and feel like it is an important read for today’s society.
*I received a complementary digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
There were so many passages and quotes that I wanted to share from things Grace's mother says in her sermons to observations Erin makes about life, I couldn't include them all so I narrowed my long list down to the following.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book…
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book…
1 copy of THE NOWHERE GIRLS (US ONLY)
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