A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Amy Reed's The Nowhere Girls takes on big topics like trauma, activism, and the importance of consent as it follows three misfits, Grace, Erin, and Rosina, who start a movement to end the rape culture at their small-town high school. The cast of characters represent a variety of identities and family backgrounds, providing lessons on feminism, racism, ability, socioeconomic class, religion, and sexuality from many perspectives. Instances of sexual assault are described in some detail but discussed with sensitivity. There are several references to teens drinking, sometimes to excess. Teen girls speak frankly about relationships, sex, as well as experiences with sexual assault and rape. Teens swear often, including "crap," s--t," "ass," "f--k," and "d--k." Teen boys use derogatory and sexist language such as "slut," "bitch," and "whore," and in some instances brag about exploiting girls.
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What's the story?
When THE NOWHERE GIRLS begins, Grace Salter is the new girl in town who just wants to blend in, Rosina Suarez relies on apathy to deal with the strict expectations of her overbearing mother, and Erin Dillelo relates more to characters on Star Trek than she does to the real people in her life. The girls struggle with stress from school, social expectations, and relationships with their parents. In the face of their personal challenges, the three unlikely friends are united by a call to action when Grace learns the story of Lucy Moynahan, a freshman girl who was chased out of town after accusing the school’s three most popular boys of gang rape. Grace convinces Erin and Rosina to help seek justice for Lucy -- but without popularity to gain the favor of their peers, the trio take to the internet, where they form the Nowhere Girls, a support and feminist activist group. Soon the Nowhere Girls grows from an anonymous email chain into a force to be reckoned with that has their whole school and town picking sides in the fight for justice.
Is it any good?
Author Amy Reed brings depth and authenticity to this transformative story of friendship and activism. With heartfelt sensitivity for survivors of sexual assault and a deep understanding of the complexities of teen girlhood, Reed features a range of perspectives while smoothly transitioning between narrative voices. Identities often sorely misrepresented in popular media -- like working class, queer, immigrant, and disabled characters -- are multidimensional and treated with respect here. Teens can find a lot to relate to in this diverse cast, who realistically juggle the social pressures of high school, family stress, and their own insecurities.
The Nowhere Girls’ many challenging topics are balanced by the well-developed, wonderfully uplifting character arcs of the three main characters, which will have readers rooting for them from the very first chapter. Grace, Erin, and Rosina are by no means perfect, but they're smart, enjoyable narrators with unique personalities and believable strengths and flaws. Reed is honest and convincing in her portrayal of each girl's journey of personal growth, emphasizing the importance of supportive friendships and speaking up for your beliefs without resorting to cringe-worthy cliches. It is truly touching to witness the Nowhere Girls, with all their differences, unite around a single cause and encourage one another to speak their truths, pursue their passions, and understand their self-worth as girls and as leaders. This is a tremendous, refreshingly nuanced story of girls working together to achieve positive change within themselves and in the world around them that's sure to inspire anyone who picks it up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Nowhere Girls explores the issue of consent and sexual assault. How do you think this book compares with other books, movies, or TV shows that deal with these topics?
What did you learn about feminism in The Nowhere Girls that you didn't already know? What do you think feminism means to each character? What does feminism mean to you?
If you could form an activist group like the Nowhere Girls, what would you fight for? What would you call yourselves?
There's lots of swearing and other harsh language in The Nowhere Girls. Do you think this accurately reflects how teens talk these days? What would you do if you heard someone you know use offensive or hurtful language?
- Author: Amy Reed
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Activism, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Publication date: October 10, 2017
- Number of pages: 408
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: August 9, 2019
Our editors recommend
For kids who love stories about underdogs and the importance of consent
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