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 Furst. 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 by Amy Reed 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 Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed 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.
You can purchase The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed here: