The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
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.
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a really solid YA feminist novel.
I really liked the three protagonists and thought they all offered really interesting perspectives. I really appreciated the protagonists’ relationships with their parents and families. They all felt really realistic and like genuine familial relationships, which I think really added to the story and nuances.
One thing I will note is that Erin is autistic, and I’m not sure how the representation is. As far as I can tell, Amy Reed isn’t openly autistic, and I’ve had a hard time finding own-voices reviews from autistic reviewers. As a non-autistic person, I do think it did a good job at not villainizing autism, which happens fairly frequently, while still showing the struggles of an autistic girl. But I also think there were some questionable aspects near the end, so I hesitate to recommend this as good representation.
I think this book did a good job too at showing the complexities of rape culture and sex and relationships. It didn’t paint everyone who participates in rape culture in a bad light and did a good job showing the nuance where there was nuance. That being said, it was a little heavy-handed in some aspects. The ending wraps everything up a little too nicely and very much has a “and then everybody clapped” kind of feeling. However. the book is intended for younger audiences, so I didn’t totally mind, but it is just something to note.
Overall, I thought this was an entertaining and fairly quick read. I would definitely recommend it for younger readers, especially those who want to learn more about how rape culture can be prevalent in a school setting.
So those are my thoughts! Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you plan to read it? Let me know!