Book Review: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (Spoilers)

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WOW!!!!! This book just left me speechless, with goosebumps and a lot of thoughts swirling in my head. I’m not sure if I can express anything properly in this review but I’m definitely going to try.

Grace is a white Christian girl who is new to the town of Prescott after her minister mother is forced out of her old church for preaching about a more progressive version of Jesus. Now, all she wants is to live her life in high school without making any waves and probably find some normal friends. Rosina is queer latina teen who wants more from her life than just working her ass off at her uncle’s restaurant and taking care of her cousins. She also feels very invisible and insignificant for being a poor brown lesbian girl in a small town. Erin is a very smart socially awkward girl who wants to be a marine biologist learning about the numerous life forms living under the water. She has Asperger’s syndrome and she follows her own rigid set of rules to get through every day and finds solace in watching Star Trek. She is very empathetic and hopes that she could be void of her emotions like her favorite android character because she wants to escape the emotional overload that she feels sometimes.

When these three girls come together to do something to bring justice to Lucy – a rape survivor who was bullied and shamed and denied justice – the “Nowhere Girls” are born. But this book and the group are not just about this one issue. Through the group, all the girls come together, have discussions about their lives and choices, their expectations, their need to be seen and valued and loved as equals. This book is about so much more:

  • A girl who believes in her faith and prays to find purpose in her life and do good.
  • A girl who wants to forget all the trauma that she has experienced and just get through the day in a normal way.
  • A girl who is conflicted about loving her family that is also suffocating her dreams.
  • A girl who is resigned to faking it while being with a guy because she believes she is worthless and her “no” means nothing.
  • A girl who enjoys sex and is confident enough to ask for what she wants.
  • A smart girl who wants to look and dress pretty but believes that she has to choose between beauty and brains.
  • A cheerleader with a love for dancing who can’t get behind the idea of her body being on display and judged for it.
  • An athletic girl who is stereotyped as a lesbian and goes so unnoticed that she believes even being taken advantage of might be better.
  • A closeted trans girl worried if she would be accepted by the group of girls in her school.
  • A black girl tired of white feminism which is so indifferent to her struggles.
  • The patriarchy that treats women as second class citizens only good for serving men.
  • The culture that perpetuates the notion that women like being with a strong man, women dressed a certain way are asking for it and excuses the actions of boys “for being boys”.
  • The hypocrisy of being called a slut for enjoying sex while being named a prude for not putting oneself out there.
  • The men who don’t call out the sexism and misogyny around them because they don’t want to lose their friends.
  • The men and women who would do anything to maintain the status quo and not ruffle any feathers.
  • The parents who believe their kids and fight for the truth alongside them.
  • The parents who are complicit in furthering the misogynistic attitudes in their kids.

This book made me think a lot, question my own beliefs and attitudes and actions till date and what I can do better in my life. It also reaffirms the need for listening to the victim, stop blaming them and female solidarity. Though it is unfortunate that this book seems so realistic in this day and age, but this is the world we live in and I recommend everyone to read this book and introspect.

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