THE NOWHERE GIRLSAuthor: Amy Reed
Source: ARC via Publisher
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
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.
Purchase:Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and decided to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion of the book.
I loved this one a lot but also had a couple issues with it that I hope are changed in the finished copy. But there was such a powerful story here with giving us three narrators and women who are not usually depicted in mainstream media or feminism so we got to see intersectionality and ingrained racism in a way I have not seen before in a novel with this topic. I liked the vignettes that showed us just how hard it is to be a teenage girl and how other girls struggled with the same things that Grace, Rosina, and Erin had to deal with in their own lives. However, please be warned that this book is triggering if you have dealt with sexual assault, racism, and there is a line that is transphobic that I hope is edited before final printing.
I liked that there is a messy aspect to this. The girls weren't perfect in how they achieved their social justice and they had to work at it, to update it to meet the obstacles presented both by administration and their own lives. I think it was great to see them think on their feet, invite more people in, and grow as people and individuals by seeing how other people viewed the world and collaborating on ideas.
Rosina was by far the best of the narrators because I could just feel for her. She had to go through so many microaggressions and difficulty with her classmates and family members. It was an eye opening read for me to see how other people handle their familial responsibilities along with their self-care. I really liked being in Rosina's mind and thought that she had the most growth. However, as I am not a Mexican nor an immigrant, there may be things that I missed while reading it because I was unaware, so please let me know if this is not a good depiction of that particular aspect and I will take that into consideration.
I think what is best about this novel is that the summary makes it come across as some cheap, watered down version of what the novel actually gives us. These girls wade through the mud to get their voices heard. They come up against those who don't have faith in them and in turn lose faith in themselves but they keep fighting because they know how important it is. This book is MESSY. It tackles a really tough topic and doesn't sugar coat it and I give Reed props for that to be honest. It would be easy to have written this in a way that still addressed the issue without showing just how crappy people can be but that isn't what happened and I feel like teens who read this will be better off for it. The real world is just as messy as this book depicts it.
Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a good read that has strong characters who recognize when they need to stand up to fight but also when to back down. Pick your battles wisely. Keep in mind that not only did this one make me cry but it also triggered me for two whole weeks so please be careful!