Title: The Nowhere Girls
Author: Amy Reed
Genre: Young adult contemporary
Published: By Simon Pulse on October 10th, 2017
Content warning: Sexual assault and harassment, bullying, slut shaming, racism, homophobia
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.
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. Told in alternating perspectives, this ground-breaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.
I read this as a part of a readathon having heard nothing but good reviews. It was supposed to be a buddy read with Sahitya but she finished even before I started because she just couldn’t put it down. It’s safe to say that I went into it with very high expectations.
I’m pleased to report that this book exceeded my expectations and became one of my all-time favourite books. It’s been a few months since I read this book but I constantly think of it even now and remember the story like it was yesterday. It follows mainly three perspectives but we get a few short snippets from many different side characters, all girl students of Prescott High. What I loved the most about this book is the amazing diverse representation, in terms of race, gender, sexuality, body types and neurodiversity. It made the characters much more real and I was happy that it wasn’t token rep but something that was a part of their personalities. The plot was simple yet conveyed such a powerful message, using the ‘show, don’t tell’ to superb effect. It tackled tough issues like sexual assault, harassment and everyday sexism with nuance and finesse without overpowering the story. The writing was quite simple, which I think worked very well for the plot and the themes explored. It didn’t feel like the author was constantly pushing an agenda on the reader and left room for interpretation.
To sum up, I thoroughly enjoyed my read of this amazing book. The story shook me to my core and had me re-examining my beliefs, which is the mark of every good piece of literature. It’s definitely a very important read, especially given the current situation where women have found their voice with the #MeToo movement.
I want to stress that I don’t think this is the sort of book that should be read only by teenage girls or restricted to females. I would highly encourage everyone reading this review to give this a try, no matter your reading tastes or life situation. Keep your favourite ‘bring down the patriarchy’ playlist on hand as you read this. As for the food, I think comfort food would be your best bet as it gets really difficult to read in some places.
Have you read this book and if yes, what did you think? What book has made you question your beliefs? Do you have any feminist book recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments section below.