With a plot that seems all too real, especially in light of recent headlines, The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed is a rallying cry for all girls and women fed up with sexual harassment and assault, and not being believed when they speak up.
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 initially started to write that this is the book that made me so mad this year, but that’s not true. This is the book that helped me understand the anger that I constantly carry with me. Anger about how girls and women are treated in this world. Anger about the injustices we face on a daily basis. Anger at how we are so often doubted and not believed. Anger about every dude bro’s defensive reaction to the near constant stream lately of powerful men being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct. Anger that it’s taken this long for those men to be held accountable for their heinous actions.
The Nowhere Girls made all that simmering anger rise to the surface. Grace, Rosina, and Erin are incredible characters – and every injustice they (and their fellow female classmates) face in this book fueled that anger. And though they may be fictional characters, the challenges they face are all too real.
If this book doesn’t make you angry, you’re not paying attention.
But as much as this book reminded me of the anger I always carry with me, The Nowhere Girls also gave me hope – that as women, we can band together and finally stand up for ourselves. Because it’s about goddamn time.
The Nowhere Girls is in stores now.