Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
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.
Trigger warning: rape and sexual assault
The Nowhere Girls is an incredibly important read. It focuses on rape culture in high school through perspectives often ignored, i.e. a girl on the Autism spectrum, a fat girl, and a Mexican lesbian girl. Each of these characters offers a new perspective on a well-known topic. Questions of consent, ability to consent, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity are focused upon heavily, while other topics such as transitioning and women of colour and feminism are touched upon briefly.
What makes this book stand out from others of its kind is its contribution to the conversation about rape culture and the growing lack of concern towards it. A bunch of girls band together in order to change the growing sexiest movement at their high school by opening a dialogue between themselves and boycotting sex. Their actions upset the status quo without being disrupting yet they’re treated like criminals. They take a step outside of the box of acceptable female behavior and all the authority figures try their best to push them back in, even the educated female principal.
The formation of the group allows the girls to question consent and its varying forms as well as the power of understanding their own sexuality. The girls debate the efficacy of the sexual boycott and how’s it’s affecting their own sexual desires and pleasures. Every time the girls got together for a Nowhere Girls meeting, they always spoke about something important like consent, slut shamming, the power of unity among women, and social justice.
The ending isn’t as satisfying as I would have liked, but the ending is a reflection of real life and how these types of events are very rarely solved or punished severely.
Overall, The Nowhere Girls is an important read because it is an exploration of what it’s like to be female in today’s society and how sexuality and race play key roles. It also adds to the conversations happening around rape, rape culture, slut shamming, and so much more.
** I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.