Title: The Nowhere Girls
Author: Amy Reed
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Feminism, Realistic Fiction
Published date: 10th October 2017
Published by: Simon Pulse
Trigger warning: Rape and sexual assault
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.
I am going to tell you why you should immediately read this book (if you haven’t):
- It’s a powerful book, with so many powerful messages
- Feminism FTW
- LGBTQ representation
It was so hard for me to write a review for this book. When I first finished reading it, it was in December 2017, but my thoughts were still incoherent, so I decided to wait. Months later, my thoughts were still a mess but I tried my best.
This book covered a lot of heavy topics, and it is such an eye-opener. Some of the important topics discussed are rape culture, sexual assault, misogyny, slut shaming, victim blaming, and so many more. The story is set in a small, backward town and it was such a toxic place to live in. Reading about the society they live in made my blood boil, and made me want to curse every few pages.
However, this book also gives me a sense of empowerment. The girls band together, formed the Nowhere Girls, talked about things without judgements from anyone, and reassure each other that they weren’t alone. That made me feel good, made me feel okay to be myself even if “traditionalist” frowns upon it.
I absolutely adore the characters, especially Erin, for one obvious reason (I love Star Trek too). She has Asperger’s, and suffers from anxiety. While I am not an expert on Asperger’s or any types of autism, I know how people tend to stereotype them, and I am so glad that Erin wasn’t stereotyped. I also liked Grace. She’s one of the core Nowhere Girls, like Erin, a potragonist, and she’s fat. I like how this book didn’t focus on her size, instead it’s just her characteristic, a word that is used to identify her. It is great to read about a character like Grace, who has a great (not high, but definitely not low) self-confidence and self-esteem. In my opinion, a positive portrayal of a fat/chubby character does wonders to boost the confidence and self-esteem of readers’ in similar position (like me, ha!).
The Nowhere Girls is written in multiple POVs. I like the fact that I am not restricted to only certain characters’ thoughts, that I could be in the shoes of more than one or two characters, get to know their side of the story. However, sometimes, it can be a bit confusing when I lost track of whose POV it was, especially when I’m sleepy when I read but too stubborn to put the book down.
Overall, I think The Nowhere Girls is definitely worth all the landmines and triggers that you’ll be sure to encounter. It is powerful and educational—such a well rounded book. The character development was spectacular, and though I am no expert, but I think the representations were done beautifully. I would recommend this book to readers who like to read books with feminism in it, or who wants to learn more about rape culture. Although it would be awesome if everyone would read this book. Books like the Nowhere Girls could change the world. Baby steps. Just saying.
I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Do you like reading about feminism in books? Does it make you feel good? What other books involving feminism do you like to read? Do you think these type of books would be an eye opener for those who unintentionally judge people who are different, slut shaming, and body shaming others?