I went into this story absolutely blind to what it was about and I feel it was the best way to experience this sensational novel.
Short recap: Three outsider girls in a relatively small unassuming country town each experience their own version of sexual harassment, assault, discrimination, sexism, first loves, and the power of friends. These three girls come together to form The Nowhere Girls, an anonymous group that is hell bent on strengthening the bonds between girls while bringing the a-hole boys to justice that have done horrific things to innocent victims.
I thought I was ready but I wasn’t. I listened to the audio of this book so when I couldn’t listen, I wanted to be listening. I wanted to know what happened to these girls in this town! It all started when new girl Grace, the daughter of the new female preacher, moved to town and moved into Lucy’s old house. Grace found out from Rosina that something truly awful happened to Lucy that caused her to move away – Lucy was brutally raped and the people within the town did not believe her. Grace and her new friends, Rosina, who is gay and Hispanic, and Erin, who is autistic, has an incredible obsession with Star Trek: The Next Generation and all things to do with the sea, form The Nowhere Girls to help get justice for Lucy. Nearly every girl had been attacked or assaulted in some way, shape, or form. The adults turn a blind eye and ignore. Grace, Rosina, and Erin fight to stop this from happening to another girl.
“Silence does not mean yes. No can be thought and felt but never said. It can be screamed silently on the inside. It can be in the wordless stone of a clenched fist, fingernails digging into palm.”
A lot of this story reminded me of Moxie and it fired me up all over again. Coming from a small town I know the stigma that goes along with high school football and believing it like gospel. Some towns treat high school boys like royalty and let them practically get away with murder, all so they can win football championships. It pisses me off to no end. I love how that topic was covered and then some. It shed yet more light and I appreciated that. Boys within this story were portrayed to be untouchable, and in some places that still holds true to this very day. It needs to stop. I wish I had a group of girls to hang out with like the ones in this story. I believe every girl has the right to feel safe in her own home town, her own school even. They should never walk down the hallways in fear that some perv boy will try to assault them and laugh when they say “No”. I wanted to jump into this story and fight along side these girls. GAH, the girl power found within the pages felt inspiring!
“Sometimes the not crying hurts worse than the crying.”
The very well developed characters and strong emotions are what really made this story. Yes, there are some horrible events that take place, terrible things said by guys towards girls, and even the adults should be ashamed of the way they behaved. None of that should deter from the fact that this could have been a story ripped from the headlines. Rosina, Erin, and Grace have such unique personalities that they all work together in a beautiful way. They all seem to balance one another out. Maybe Reed just has some magic that she isn’t willing to tell yet, but whatever she is doing, she needs to keep doing.
“Did you know the triangle is the strongest geometric shape in nature?” Erin says.
They meet one another’s eyes, one by one by one. They breathe. They swallow. They turn towards the door. Grace presses the button of the doorbell. They hold their breath and wait.”
I had not read anything by Amy Reed before but based on this one single book, I am forever hooked. I will buy and read whatever she publishes. Her writing was fluid and amazing. The pacing was perfect. I was never bored or wondered when the story would be over. I was absolutely hooked. Reed had me from the first page. This is not an easy read – not at all. The topics of rape, assault, and more are discussed. They are talked about openly and very candidly. The way the topics were presented felt real and very believable. It felt like I was eavesdropping on someone’s conversation it was that good.
As you can tell, I had a lot of feelings and thoughts about this story. I still do, in fact. This is a story that is going to stay with me for many years to come. I hope everyone has a chance to pick this one up because it is such a wonderful story. It is tough, it is dirty, it is gritty, it is raw, it is real, it is emotional, it is necessary. I recommend to every single person. I will be recommending to everyone for a very long time.