5 Reasons to Read The Nowhere Girls

7.13.2018


"Silence does not mean yes. No can be thought and felt but never said. It can be screamed silently on the inside."

Girls. We are growing up in a time in which sexism still pervades; a time in which girls regularly face catcalling, slurs, intimidation, threats, and assault; in which even our leaders remain respected despite sexual misconduct and vocalized approval of sexual assault.

We are also growing up in a significant and powerful time, in which brave and bold women resist, share #MeToo stories, and advocate for each other. The Nowhere Girls, a must-read for teen girls, encapsulates the sadness, anger, relief, excitement, and strength of our time.

The Nowhere Girls follows three classmates: Grace, Rosina, and Erin, who form an unlikely friendship to avenge a former classmate's rape and combat sexism in their small town. They start a club, "The Nowhere Girls", an anonymous platform for teen girls to speak out about their experiences in school. The club becomes a movement, as similar organizations spring up at local schools and the tension between the girls and football players and administrators, aiming preserve their reputations, gain media attention.

1. Features multiple perspectives to see yourself through 

 Reed explores the impact of the Nowhere Girls through the eyes of a diverse group of girls. Some are nameless, highlighted in small paragraphs to acknowledge the opinions, supportive and dissenting, of girls around the school. Others, like that of the three main characters, dominate, but two of the less frequent perspectives captured my attention most. First, that of a black student, who seeks justice and change but feels excluded from the movement, knowing that these campaigns are not always inclusive. Second, that of a high achiever I could relate to, who tries to reconcile confidence in her physical appearance with her academic pursuits. When jealousy or loneliness become too easy, each of these girls' perspectives reminds us to be empathetic. More than we know, we experience similar doubts. And still, when we don't, there are always others willing to listen.

2. It's an addictive read

The Nowhere Girls is not a perfect story. Sometimes, I felt the high school featured was cliche; stereotypes reduced the development of the setting. But once I was involved in the story, I desperately needed the girls to succeed. I couldn't put the book down. It provided the story I needed at the time.

3. Captures emotions

A cause and campaign like this demands emotional investment. Frustration, when a sexist comment in the classroom silences. Anger, when perpetrators oppose and those with power abuse or do nothing. Fear, when threats loom. Violated, when those fears are realized. Empowered, when someone listens. Strong, when people stand together.

Reed captures these feelings exactly as I have felt them.

When I picked up The Nowhere Girls, I was frustrated. I felt overwhelmed: the hallway comments seemed to breed the college perpetrators my older friends carry pepper spray and pocket knives in fear of, the trusted and even celebrated figures breaching the unforgivable, and those who force too many women to endure the unimaginable.

4. Female friendships to root for

Too often, especially in stories within school and work environments, writers pit female characters against each other to create drama, encouraging competition for limited spots rather than collaboration to create more of those spots. The Nowhere Girls does the opposite, highlighting female characters with opposing viewpoints but ultimately promoting teamwork and admirable friendships.

5. Tackles the tough issues in an understandable manner

The Nowhere Girls is a quick read, but its fast pace does not make it light. Reed addresses mental health, discrimination, sexuality, and rape in this novel appropriately-- not too stiffly, to avoid lecturing the reader and overshadowing the storyline, but not too briefly, to emphasize the importance of these issues.

Ultimately, a powerful novel for teen girls. 

-★★★★-


1 comment :

  1. I've been meaning to read this one for a while! It sounds super good

    ReplyDelete