Title: The Nowhere Girls
Author: Amy Reed
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: October 10, 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.
This review contains minor spoilers.
I loved this book! This is an important book that everyone needs to read. In fact, I plan on buying this and having my boys read it when they are teenagers. I have never read a book that better depicts rape culture and I think it will be a great conversation starter for my kids and I.
The Nowhere Girls is mostly told from the perspective of the three characters, Grace, Erin, and Rosina. I did feel connected to their stories but my favorite chapters were the ones titled Us. These chapters were told from a multitude of perspectives and I really feel like these stories encapsulated every woman in the world. By that I mean that every woman that reads those chapters will at least identify with something from one of the many viewpoints.
The main reason that I knocked a star off my rating is because of the part when the girls come up with the idea of the sex ban. I appreciate that the author, Amy Reed, did briefly bring up what I am going to write here but I would rather that she not done the ban and then briefly talked about why some thought it would be a good idea. I don’t like the sex ban because it is promoting the idea that sex can be used to control someone. It is such an unhealthy idea in a book aimed at teenagers to have characters withholding sex to punish or change people. I won’t go into a full blown rant here because the book does mention all the reasons I am against this idea. I was just really disappointed when that happened. However, using sex as control and rape are two very different things and I want to make it very clear that I am not trying to compare them in any way. Rape is one of the worst things that can be done to a person and my heart bleeds for every person that has had to live through it. My goal in bringing the topic up in my review is to point out that this is an unhealthy way to view and use sex. Rape is not about sex. Period.
I was also frustrated with the way that Reed wrote some of the boy characters. Obviously some boys are bad. But some are good and we barely got to see that in this book. There were a couple of instances where the boys actually stepped up to the plate but for the most part they were just there. Also another thing that disappointed me was how much time was spent on how disgusting the boys would be when they talked to/about a girl or girls and yet a majority of the girls in the book were horrible to the character April. I don’t even understand the point of her character being in the book because nothing concerning her was ever resolved. The girls never had a come to the light moment where they realized they were judging her and treating her in such an awful way. That maybe they need to change to and its not all about how evil boys can be. I just feel like her character could have led to some great conversations but instead it was just nothing.
The principal made me so angry through the entire book. I hated everything about her and I have not passionately hated a character since I first read Dolores Umbridge. There was a part where I almost cried I was so angry at her. The principal represents everything that is wrong with our society when it comes to believing and supporting women. And she is a freaking woman and she just completely turned her back on her fellow women. And for what. To be the freaking principal of a high school. Like how is that even worth it. She was just as disgusting as the rapists.
As you can see I have a ton of feelings about this book but I think that I have covered them all. I suggest that everyone read this book. It is so important. This book should be read in high schools. The conversations that could be had surrounding the topics in this book are so relevant and could be so eye opening for so many. I plan on buying this book for every young woman that I know because I believe in the message of this book so much. It is not perfect but it is powerful.