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
    Paperback:
    Jul 2019, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Cynthia C. Scott
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Rosina cringes at the memory. Never has a girl made her feel so un-Rosina-like. Never has she felt so bumbling. She thinks of the stupid expression "weak in the knees," how she always thought of it as some gooey romantic nonsense, but now she realizes she has experienced scientific proof that it's a real physical condition, and she hates herself for being such a cliché, for having such a crush, for being such a girl about it.

She pedals hard, hoping the burn in her legs will wipe away this unsettling feeling of wanting something, wanting someone, she knows she cannot have. Even on her bike, riding as fast as she can, Rosina still feels caged, trapped. She can't ride to Eugene. She certainly can't ride to Portland. All she can do is wander around the streets of this tired old town, looking for something new. Sometimes after a rain there are sidewalks full of half-drowned worms. Sometimes lost mail. The usual empty bottles and candy wrappers, receipts, a couple of crumpled-up shopping lists. Roadkill. The only new things in this town are trash.

Rosina races through the streets of Prescott, an eternal loner, the only brown girl in town who doesn't hang out with the other brown girls, as if she's trying to stand out on purpose, her spiky black hair snaking through the air, earbuds in her ears, listening to those wild women that made music in towns and cities so close to here but practically a whole generation ago, those brave girls with boots and electric guitars, singing with voices made out of moss and rocks and rainstorms. Relics, artifacts. Everything worth anything happened a long time ago when new really meant new.

Why does she always end up on this street? There's nothing here but cookie-cutter houses that were new in the fifties, a few scraggly trees, small front lawns with browning grass. This street isn't on the way to anywhere Rosina wants to go. It's not on the way to anywhere.

But there it is. The house. Lucy Moynihan's house. Faded white paint peeling like on every other house. From the outside, it's nothing special. It housed a girl Rosina barely knew. It's been empty all summer. It shouldn't matter. It doesn't. So why does she keep coming back here? As if it's calling her. As if, even though Lucy's long gone, she's not done with this town quite yet.

But the house isn't empty now. Not anymore.

If Rosina hadn't already been staring, she probably never would have noticed the plain, chubby white girl reading on the front porch. There isn't much about the girl that makes her stand out from the side of the house. She is off-white against off-white. She has the kind of soft, undefined face you don't remember. But she's new, and that's something. That's more than something.

"Hey!" Rosina calls, screeching to a halt on her bike.

The girl jumps. Rosina thinks she hears a mouselike squeak.

"Who are you?" Rosina says as she kicks open her kickstand. "You just moved here?" she says as she walks up the cracked footpath. "This is your house now?"

"Um, hi?" the girl says, setting her book down, a mediocre fantasy novel. She brushes limp, dirty blond bangs out of her eyes, but they fall right back to where they were.

"I'm Rosina," Rosina says, thrusting her hand out for a shake.

"Grace."

Grace's hand is limp and slightly moist in Rosina's tight grip. "What year are you? You look like a sophomore."

"Junior."

"Me too."

"I'm going to Prescott High."

"Yeah, that's kind of the only option here." Rosina does nothing to hide the fact that she's sizing the new girl up. "Your accent is hilarious. You're like a cartoon character or something."

Grace opens her mouth, but nothing comes out.

"Sorry, that sounded rude, didn't it?" Rosina says.

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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