Real-Life Nowhere Girls: Background information when reading The Nowhere Girls

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Nowhere Girls

by Amy Reed

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed X
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2017, 416 pages
    Jul 2019, 432 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Cynthia C. Scott
Buy This Book

About this Book

Real-Life Nowhere Girls

This article relates to The Nowhere Girls

Print Review

According to the New York branch of the National Organization for Women, 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attackers. 60% of those assaults are never reported. Only 16.3% of men who are accused of rape will be prosecuted with only 3% spending a single day in jail. 18.8% of black women will report sexual assault in their lifetimes while 60% will experience rape before they turn eighteen. 13% (214,000) of lesbian women, 46% (1.5 million) of bisexual women, and 17% (1.9 million) of heterosexual women will report rape in their lifetimes.

While these staggering statistics apply to the New York area, rape and the toxic culture which tolerates it has cracked through the prism of silence in the past few years. But news of famous men being caught harassing or sexually assaulting women prove we still have a long way to go. Amy Reed's YA novel The Nowhere Girls takes a crack at breaking the silence behind this epidemic. Her story of teen girls who resist rape culture might seem like the stuff of fiction, but there are real organizations worldwide that help teens do just that.

In Toronto, Black Women in Motion is an organization that helps to empower black girls and young women by hosting WAAR: Weekend of Action Against Rape. The 2-day conference engages 17-24 year old participants in workshops, panel discussions, and activities about ways they can resist sexual violence and rape culture. In 2016, two Long Island, New York high-school students, Andrea Gonzales and Meghan Callahan, entered the discussion of sexual assault and consent when they took photographs of Gonzales with messages like "no means no" and "my body, my rules" written on her bare back for a photography class assignment on liberty. Like the activists in The Nowhere Girls, their assignment ran into controversy for the way they chose to express themselves.

One group that is most similar to the Nowhere Girls is The Red Brigade Trust, an organization in Uttar Pradesh, India that is tackling that country's rape culture. Founded by Ajay Patel and Usha Vishwakarma, a teacher and survivor of sexual harassment, the Red Brigade is a vigilante group of teen girls who take to the streets to protect girls and women from harassment, groping, and catcalling. Founded before the 2012 horrific gang rape and fatal beating of a woman on a private bus in New Delhi which ignited international condemnation and brought sexual assault into the public consciousness, the Red Brigade takes action by confronting the men with their behavior and, if necessary, publicly berating them if they refuse to stop.

The group consists of girls, each of whom are survivors of sexual assault. They take classes on martial arts to defend themselves and wear traditional clothes in red and black which symbolize their struggle - red for danger and struggle and black for protest. The girls have been successful in helping to change some of the behavior of the men in the street of their hometown of Lucknow, though they still face a tremendous uphill battle. The Red Brigade hosts workshops related to self-defense (Mission One Million), gender discrimination, and "Good-Touch-Bad-Touch." The organization also provides legal help to women who are survivors of rape and other attacks.

According to an Al Jazeera article, in 2015 alone, 34,651 rapes were reported in India. 95.5% of the victims knew their attackers. And these are conservative estimates as many more rape cases go unreported. There is no quick or easy fix for the barriers women and young girls face. But the girls of The Red Brigade, who only use violence as a last resort and even then only a slap, are finding their own voices and sense of empowerment.

As the rampant misogyny found in social media and recent high-profile cases of sexual assault show, rape culture is deeply entrenched in the public psyche and it will take lifetimes to root out. However, these groups prove that girls and women can refuse to remain victims by raising their voices and demanding to be heard.

Article by Cynthia C. Scott

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Nowhere Girls. It originally ran in November 2017 and has been updated for the July 2019 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Everything Inside
    Everything Inside
    by Edwidge Danticat
    Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American writer, and Haiti looms large as a presence in this ...
  • Book Jacket: The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket: Marilou Is Everywhere
    Marilou Is Everywhere
    by Sarah Elaine Smith
    "The point is that at that moment in my life," writes the narrator of Sarah Elaine Smith's debut ...
  • Book Jacket: Let's Call It a Doomsday
    Let's Call It a Doomsday
    by Katie Henry
    However the world will end, Ellis Kimball is ready for it. Her obsessive stash of survivalist ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Secrets We Kept
    by Lara Prescott

    Reese Witherspoon's Sept Book Club Pick!
    "This is the rare page-turner with prose that’s as wily as its plot."—EW
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Yale Needs Women
    by Anne Gardiner Perkins

    A tale of courage in the face of arrogance that remains eerily relevant on U.S. campuses today.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Today We Go Home
by Kelli Estes

Illuminating and deeply human, Today We Go Home shines a light on the brave military women of the past and present.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Chase Darkness with Me

How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?


Word Play

Solve this clue:

S S A C A Big S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.