Book Review: Nowhere But Here

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Author: Katie McGarry
ISBN: 9781743690956
RRP: $19.99

I have always thought Katie McGarry’s writing to be raw and gritty; authentic and intense; bringing two people from completely different worlds together to discover that they have a lot in common and Nowhere But Here is all of these things.

Nowhere But Here is the latest novel by McGarry and the first novel in a brand new series with a completely new backdrop, Thunder Road home of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club.

I have had this book on my wishlist ever since I found out that it was being written. I have had it on my TBR shelf for almost a month taunting and tempting me. Finally I could resist no longer and picked it up.

Nowhere But Here is a contemporary young adult novel with not a school in sight, though our leads are both in school we open at the beginning of the summer holidays. Oz has just graduated and Emily is being encouraged to visit some out of state colleges over her summer holidays.

Thunder Road is the home of the Reign of Terror motocycle club, and the centre of this new series. Motorcycle clubs often get really bad press, much of the time you only hear about the negatives and many people make snap judgements based on assumptions and appearances. Bikers are often feared for their large stature, tattoos and black leather, regardless of their demeanour. Katie McGarry has explored a motorcycle club behind their appearances and painted a very different picture.

Reign of Terror has the look of the stereotypical MC but we soon discover there are two very different types of club. Reign of Terror is a legit MC who live within the law and are very much about family. The club become family and it’s all about brotherhood and loyalty.

nowhere but here

Emily is a seventeen year old content living in her little bubble at home in Florida with her mum and dad. She has led quite a sheltered and protected life, except for that one night when she was eight…. She likes her life simple and predictable and contained in Florida. She has come to accept the once yearly visit from her biological father but never really engaged enough to enjoy them.

Curiousity about her biological father has always been present, it’s what started the once yearly visits, but exploring that curiousity feels like a betrayal of the father who chose her, loves her and is always there for her. Details have never been forthcoming about her biological father and with her mother’s reluctance to talk about her past Emily has been kept very much in the dark.

Oz is also seventeen and he has grown up right in the middle of Reign of Terror, it is the only life he has ever known and it is the only life he wants. From the time he was old enough to understand he has wanted to earn his patch and a job in the security company owned by the club. He was made to wait until he graduated from high school to even be considered for a patch and the time has finally come.

Both these teens think they have things figured out, they think they know where there life is headed and then their two very different worlds collide.

McGarry explores the stereotypes and the snap judgements that people make from the other side. We get an inside look into the effect that has on the kids growing up in a motorcycle club and how they have needed to defend their way of life. The way it has been approached is beautifully done, focusing on the loyalty and the brotherhood; the feeling of being involved in something bigger than yourself and your immediate family.

Nowhere But Here was an absolute emotional roller coaster, I had tears on more than one occasion as my heart broke for these characters.

There is an element of the good girl falls for bad boy and all hell breaks loose but it is so much more than that.

Emily is a good girl who was raised as far from the world of the MC as possible but she still managed to end up traumatized and crippled by fear. Her journey through this book teaches her a lot about herself and allows her to start facing some of those fears as she uncovers details of the past that will shake her foundations.

Nowhere But Here is written in a two person narrative with alternating chapters by Emily and Oz giving us a birds-eye view into their heads. I am getting used to reading books written in this style so am quite good at keeping the characters straight in my head but at times in this one I had to reread a couple of times to work out whose eyes I was looking out of but I think that was just me.

I knew I had seen it somewhere… Goodreads says: “Pitched as West Side Story meets Sons of Anarchy” and in those times where I found I had to put the book down and deal with real life, under protest, I found myself thinking about this in terms of Sons of Anarchy and thinking that Reign of Terror is the type of club that Sons of Anarchy started out as but by the end of the series the only thing the two clubs had in common was the skull on their patch and that sense of brotherhood, that knowing that you would lay your life on the line for the brotherhood.

Nowhere But Here explores relationships, family and the devastation left in the wake of dishonesty. It is the story of looking past what’s on the surface and discovering your place in the world. It looks at life in a motorcycle club and there are some comparisons to a motorcycle gang. From early on we discover that there is more to the story than meets the eye but it isn’t until the final act that all the pieces are uncovered. There were some definite twists that I didn’t see coming and some emotional scenes of world rocking loss.

I loved Nowhere But Here and I can not wait to see what else is going to happen on Thunder Road. I love the Pushing The Limits series and its characters but I think Thunder Road is going to give it a definite run for its money. I will be keeping an eye out to see if any familiar characters pop up in upcoming volumes though I can tell you that.

To learn more about Katie McGarry and her work you can find her on Twitter, Facebook and her Website.

Nowhere But Here is available now through Harlequin Teen and all good booksellers.

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