Novel: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry
Published: May 26th, 2015 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA, contemporary
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads | Bookdepository
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
When I heard Katie McGarry was writing Nowhere But Here, I could have squealed out of excitement. I love Katie McGarry -even though I haven’t read Take Me On yet. However, this one sounded so incredible to me. I had never read anything about a motorcycle gang before! As always, Katie McGarry didn’t disappoint.
I find that in contemporary/romance novels, the characters are the most important aspect. If they aren’t well written. there’s almost no way to save your story. Not that I said well-written, not lovable. There are times in which a main character sometimes gets terribly on my nerves, but I can still appreciate them. Because in real life, there are definitely also people who get on my nerves. This was the case for Emily. I did like her, and I enjoyed reading from her point of view. But sometimes, I just wanted to shake her and scream. There were just certain parts of her that I didn’t understand! Let’s just get into it.
So, Emily. Emily is the daughter of one of the most respected members of the Reign of Terror, a motorcycle club. However, she has barely ever seen her father and in fact, considers her stepfather to be her true father. Through a series of events, she ends up having to spend the summer with her biological father and his family. While I admire the love Emily has for her mother and stepdad, I feel like as a 17-year-old, she is way too dependent on them. To be honest, she felt much younger than that to me. There were just so many things she hadn’t done because she was either afraid, or it was out of her comfort zone. At times, I felt like she lived in a bubble. However, I did like her overall. She was kind, and once she got over the initial fear, even a bit snarky -which I always appreciate. And she grew so much throughout the novel, which is the best part about her. She learns to come out of her shell, ask questions –even though they might make someone uncomfortable– and take more risks.
Next up, Oz. I think he is my favorite character in Nowhere But Here. He is the son of one of the Reign of Terror members, but unlike Emily, he wants to be a part of the club himself. Why? Because he knows that the RoT is legit: they don’t do any illegal stuff. They own a security company and often provide security on the road for other companies. To him, it’s family. I love how Oz defends his family. You can truly see how much he loves them. He’s strong, brave and witty. What more could you want?
There are several other characters that deserve a mention, but I feel like I’ll unintentionally spoil something for you if I say too much. So I’ll keep it short. Emily’s mom: I don’t like her. WOMAN, WHAT’S WITH ALL THE LIES??? Emily’s stepfather: while he has been a great dad to Emily, I’m angry with him. Emily’s dad: such an incredible person. But again: DUDE, WHAT’S WITH ALL THE LIES??? Emily’s grandmother: she is absolutely epic. HA. I love her. Although she would have scared me to death. Maybe even literally.
I really love this novel. It’s not just a story about self-discovery. To me, this is a story about prejudice and stereotypes. Katie McGarry shows us that we, humans, like to draw conclusions from either a first impression, gossip or incomplete/wrong information. When we hear the words “motorcycle club”, the first thing we think about is violence. Or fear. Or even drugs and guns. And while that is true for some, it may not be for every club out there. Like the Reign of Terror. I just think that this book is an incredible reminder to not just make up your mind about something or someone when you don’t know any actual facts. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!