Goodreads: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

I’m really getting back into the
swing of this reading thing, aren’t I? Get me, with yet another book review! Last
week, my friend and I were lucky enough to be invited to a brunch
at Santa Maluco
and inevitably, brunch led to a little shopping trip and a
shopping trip wouldn’t be a true shopping trip if it didn’t end in new book
purchases. I was quite good, all things considered, and only left Waterstones
with two books: The Nowhere Girls by
Amy Reed and A Hero in France by Alan
I’d heard a lot about the former online and thought it was about
time I found out what all the fuss was about. The second book was a bit of a
spontaneous purchase, but sounds like it’ll be right up my street – historical fiction
at its finest. The Nowhere Girls is
of course the purpose of this blog post so enough babbling on about nothing,
Hol. Let’s get stuck into the review.

The Nowhere Girls is set in a high school in the States and
revolves around a trio of girls who come together with the sole intentions of
avenging the rape of a girl from their school. In a particularly misogynistic environment,
the victim of the rape is made into a laughing stock and driven from the school
with absolutely no consequences for the boys who committed the act. Grace
Salter has just moved to the town after her and her family were run out of
their town because of her mother’s more liberal views towards life in a
particularly conservative church constituency. Rosina Suarez is the daughter of
a family of Mexican immigrants who dreams of becoming the next big thing in the
rock n roll world. Erin Delillo is neurodivergent, obsessed with Star Trek, and
has a secret of her own that she hasn’t even shared with her best friend.
Seperately, the girls lead lives that aren’t particularly intriguing – they are
not cool, they are not popular, and they are certainly nothing special – but together
they make up the forefront of the Nowhere Girls, a revolution created to fight
sexual abuse and change the misogynistic views that had settled in the minds of
the town’s inhabitants. As a group, they meet, inviting the female population
of their school to join them – to raise awareness and collectively make the
decision to refuse sexual contact of any kind until they start receiving the
respect they deserve. They raise the importance of understanding that sex is
not a right- it is something that someone chooses to do, without the sense of entitlement
that a lot of the men around them seem to have.

The book focuses on the
perspectives of multiple characters throughout and is incredibly poignant. It’s
very rare that I read a book that has such a massive affect on me. I found
myself unable to put the book down, whizzing through it in a matter of hours
and feeling the need to talk all about it at every possible opportunity. Just
like The Hate U Give, the book
focuses on a topic that needs to be
talked about
and approached in a thoughtful way; and if people stop talking, remind them of it.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book to some people, as there are quite
detailed accounts of sexual assault, and there are also (intentional) examples
of racism in the pages. Immediately, the principal of the school decides that
the only person who could possibly be
responsible for creating the group is Rosina, the ‘angry’ Mexican in a
principally white town.

The book is dark- there’s
absolutely no hiding that fact. In spite of this, it is beautifully written and
gets its message across well and truly. It paints positivism and shames victim
shaming. Amy Reed has done a mighty fine job here, and I’ll be recommending
this book to everyone who asks for the foreseeable future.