Excerpt from The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Nowhere Girls

by Amy Reed

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed X
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2017, 416 pages
    Jul 2019, 432 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Cynthia C. Scott
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Print Excerpt

Grace isn't quite sure how to define what she's feeling right now, but she at least knows it's not sadness about leaving. Adeline made itself very clear that it no longer had anything to offer Grace and her family in terms of friendship or feeling welcome. And even before that, when Grace was comfortably lodged in her low but stable place in the social hierarchy, with a set cast of friends and acquaintances, with well-defined rules of behavior and speech—even then, with all that order—Grace suspected something was off. She knew her role well and she performed it brilliantly, but that's what it was: a performance. Some part of her always felt like she was lying.

Maybe she always secretly hated Christian music and the cheesy, horribly produced Christian-themed movies they always watched in Friday night youth group. Maybe she secretly hated her social life revolving around youth group. Maybe she hated sitting at the same lunch table every day, with the same bland girls she never really chose and never particularly liked, who could be both timid and insufferably hostile to anyone outside their circle, whose gossip cloaked itself in Christian righteousness. Maybe she secretly wanted a boyfriend to make out with. Maybe she was curious about all sorts of things she was not supposed to be curious about.

Grace had always yearned for something else. Different town, different school, different people. And now that she finally has the opportunity to possibly get it, she realizes she's terrified. She realizes she has no idea what she actually wants.

What's worse? Lying about who you are, or not knowing who you are at all?

Right now, faced with the uncertainty of starting a new school year at a new school in a new town, Grace would give anything for the simplicity of her old life. It may not have been satisfying in any meaningful way, it may have not been true, but at least it was safe. It was predictable. It was home. And those things sound pretty good right now.

But instead, here she is—in this weird place that doesn't know if it's a small town or a suburb, stuck in this purgatory between an unsatisfactory past and an unknown future. School starts tomorrow, Sunday is Mom's first sermon at the new church, and nothing feels close to being okay. Nothing about this place feels like home.

Grace suspects she should be praying or something. She should be asking for guidance. She should be making room for God. But right now she has bigger things to worry about than God, like surviving junior year of high school.

Grace realizes what she's feeling is homesickness. But how can someone be homesick for a place that doesn't even exist anymore?

And how can someone start a new life when she doesn't even know who she is?


Fuck cousin Erwin and his useless boy existence, fuck all the uncles of the world, fuck Mami and Tía Blanca and Tía Mariela for thinking Rosina's their slave, fuck old-school tradition for agreeing with them, fuck this bike and its crooked wheel, fuck this town for its potholes and crumbly sidewalks, fuck Oregon, fuck rain and rednecks and football players and people who eat at La Cocina and don't tip and throw their greasy napkins on the floor for Rosina to clean up.

But Abuelita's okay. Rosina both loves and likes her grandmother, which is no small thing for Rosina. Even though Abuelita thinks Rosina is her dead daughter, Alicia, who never made it out of their village in Mexico. Even though Abuelita wandered off Tuesday night when no one was looking and made it all the way to the slightly nicer and much whiter neighborhood nearly a mile away, and that pretty cheerleader named Melissa who Rosina's been crushing on since sixth grade had to bring her back. After crying for an hour, after riding her bike through the neighborhood searching for Abuelita, Rosina heard a knock and opened the front door, her face blotchy, her hair a mess, her nose wet with tears and snot, to a vision of beauty and kindness: Melissa the cheerleader holding Abuelita's hand, a warm smile on her face, her eyes radiant with sunlight. "Look who I found," the cheerleader said, and Abuelita kissed Melissa on the cheek, said, "Eres un ángel," walked inside the house, and Rosina was so embarrassed, she shut the door in Melissa's beautiful face after only barely managing to say thank you.

Excerpted from The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Reed. Excerpted by permission of Simon Pulse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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