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Summary and book reviews of The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

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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About this Book

Book Summary

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.

US.

Prescott, Oregon.

Population: 17,549. Elevation: 578 feet above sea level. Twenty miles east of Eugene and the University of Oregon. One hundred thirty miles southeast of Portland. Halfway between a farm town and a suburb. Home of the Spartans (Go Spartans!).

Home of so many girls. Home of so many almost-women, waiting for their skin to fit.


The U-Haul truck opens its sliding door for the first time since Adeline, Kentucky, unleashing the stale air from the small southern town that used to be Grace Salter's home, back when her mother was still a dutiful Baptist church leader (though not technically a "pastor," because as a woman in a church belonging to the Southern Baptist Convention, she could not technically claim the official title, nor its significantly higher pay grade, even with her PhD in Ministry and more than a decade of service). Everything in Grace's life changed when Mom fell off that horse and bumped her head and suffered the concussion and subsequent ...

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About the Book

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 ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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While the novel focuses largely on the three main characters, it offers space for the voices of other female students. In chapters titled "US," we see a diversity of ideas about tactics, feminism, sex, and men in general. Topics like intersectionality and sex positivity are also broached, though, at times the novel falls to the White Feminism tropes it attempts to evade. Aside from Rosina, all the girls who resist and all the rape survivors are white and cisgendered. The lack of diversity is a major flaw, and yet, given the few works of fiction for adults and young adults that tackle rape culture, The Nowhere Girls is still compelling, with richly drawn characters and important themes of empowerment and personal growth...continued

Full Review (609 words).

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(Reviewed by Cynthia C. Scott).

Media Reviews

Bustle
A call-to-action to everyone out there who wants to fight back.

VOYA
A must-read for high school

Booklist
Starred Review. A thoughtful, literary portrayal of female sexuality in a culture that often rejects it

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Scandal, justice, romance, sex positivity, subversive anti-sexism - just try to put it down.

School Library Journal
Starred Review. The empowerment of the girls in this book will resonate with young adults. A must-read for every teen. Grades 9 and up.

Author Blurb Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be
Cuts straight to the core of rape culture - masterfully fierce, stirring, and deeply empowering.

Reader Reviews

Esther

inspiranting book
This book is so good, I love it, I even used it for my final high school exam, it's giving me hope for the future.

Ella

So amazing!
Originally, I was apprehensive to read this as it was for school. I had selected it as the least appalling choice on the summer reading list going into ninth grade. Boy, am I glad I did. This not only became one of my favorite books, but one of my ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Real-Life Nowhere Girls

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 ...

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