CW’s: Rape, Sexual Assault, Ableist Language (challenged), Transphobic Comment
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.
4 Reasons The Nowhere Girls should become mandatory Reading
“Silence does not mean yes. No can be thought and felt but never said. It can be screamed silently on the inside. It can be in the wordless stone of a clenched fist, fingernails digging into palm. Her lips sealed. Her eyes closed. His body just taking, never asking, never taught to question silence”
Thanks to Lia for introducing me to this fantastic book! 💗
1. We see the perspective of so many young women 📖 We see a diverse cast of characters and despite having 3 main character, we get a lot of US chapters, where we see a lot of all the other girls in school. We get glimpses into their life as well and how different their opinions are. It was great to get such a deep insight in a lot of lives. I do think the book tried it’s best to be intersectional.
Grace is the new girl in town, who was forced to leave due to her mother’s change in faith. She was pretty much abandoned by all her friends back home and now she just wants to fit it … but it’s not what she ends up doing. Grace is very compassionate and she cannot let go what happened to Lucy Moynihan, whose house she moved it. She saw her silent pleads etched into her bedroom and cannot ignore them. It’s her idea to start The Nowhere Girls, to fight back and quickly her new friends Erin and Rosina join her. It was easy to like Grace, as she is very kind and caring, she feels things deeply and has a natural talent for speaking, for leading. Another things I loved to see explored was her religion, her mom is a preacher and Grace herself beliefs in god. It’s not something you see explored a lot, so I was glad that it was shown here.
Erin is an autistic Star Trek nerd and she was the one I immediately liked. I loved her obsession for Star Trek and was impressed by Erin constantly. She’s highly intelligent and a dog lover, so how can you not love her? She definitely stands out as a character and I loved how she talked so much about random marine biology facts as it’s one of her passions. Erin quickly grew on me and I liked seeing what her life looks like. She strictly sticks to a schedule and lives together with parents that hardly care about each other anymore. Her mom is also managing groups for parents of autistic parents and you cannot help but feel like she doesn’t really understand her daughter. She wants Erin to be normal, to stop being how she is and tries everything to achieve that. That’s why they often fight, but in the end Erin’s mom does care.
Rosina is a Mexican-American lesbian who is very fierce and outspoken. Sometimes she can come across very direct and rash, but it’s easy to like her once you get to know her more. I definitely felt for her difficult situation at home, it was really heart wrenching. She barely has any free time to herself, as she is forced to babysit her cousins and work in her uncle’s restaurant. You definitely see sexism taking root in that, as it’s her babysitting not her male cousin and that her uncle is leading the restaurant despite her mother working so much harder. Rosina and her mom have a very bad relationship, as they disagree on a lot of things. Rosina isn’t happy being forced to work, work, work and her mother is taking it as an offense to their family. Their fights cut deep and made me feel very sorry for Rosina. What I love about her is her loyalty, her dedication to her friends and how despite being scared she tries her best to continue on as best as she can.
2. There’s also female friendship and solidary 📖 Grace, Erin and Rosina quickly become friends and it was great seeing their bond develop. Erin and Rosina had been friends previously and I loved their dynamic, as Rosina accepted her friend like she was and always tries to protect her. That also causes a few problems later on, so we see the ups and downs of their relationship as well. Apart from our three main girls, we see the interactions between so many more girls during the Nowhere Girls meetings that brought them together. What I especially liked was how in their meetings they called out female rivalry and lack of help, it was discussed in depth as no one had stepped up for Lucy and some girls still didn’t see them as allies. Something that needed to be changed and something that actually changed as the book went on. Between the Nowhere Girls a great solidary developed and they came together as one, helping each other and being there for the other, which was great to see!
3. The book challenges rape culture and talks a lot about consent and sexuality 📖 The Nowhere Girls is about challenging rape culture and holding rapists accountable for what they have done. It all starts with the case of Lucy Moynihan, a girl who was gang-raped at a party and moved away after enduring harassment a victim blaming from all sides. No one stood up for her and her rapists are still out there and pretty much got away with it. The book discusses rape culture in-depth, talking about consent and how society often teaches girls that they don’t have any choice where sex is concerned, that they have to do whatever men want and cannot refuse. The meetings are where most discussions between girls of different backgrounds take place. They also talk about sexuality, female rivalry and their own experiences. There are so many important discussions taking place that need to be read, because they are important and impactful. That’s why I want this book to get a lot of recognition: it points out the flaws in how society teaches boys and girls to act. It also shows how authority figures dismiss and try to silence those speaking out.
“The things is,” Rosina says, “people don’t want to hear something that’ll make their lives more difficult, even if it’s the truth. People hate having to change the way they see things. So instead of admitting the world is ugly, they shit on the messenger for telling them about it.”
4. It leaves a great impact and is impossible to forget 📖 Of course this book will leave you crying, because it deals with so many important topics that are hard to read about. I spent the entire book being pretty stressed, because I expected bad things to happen at all times. It was also very hard to read through the “Real Men of Prescott” blog posts that were featured because they were so disgustingly sexist and written by a rapist. This is definitely a book you should read when you feel ready to do so, as it’s very heavy and contains graphic descriptions of the rape that took place. This is a book you certainly will not forget, it leaves and impact and doesn’t let you go easily. I found myself still thinking about it several times.
IN CONCLUSION: The Nowhere Girls is an impactful novel about challenging rape culture, consent and sexuality that is an absolute must read! It can certainly be heavy at times and make you very at the injustices taking place, but just that is also empowering. The girls are trying to change something and they will stop at nothing to get justice.
Have you read The Nowhere Girls? What is your favorite feminist book? 📖