Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here
By Katie McGarry
Published: May 26, 2015

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

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. 

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

My thoughts:

I mostly loved the Pushing the Limits series so I wanted to check out this first book in McGarry's new Thunder Road series. What I liked were the main characters, Emily and Oz. Unfortunately the adults in the book were really immature and secretive. Of course without all the secrets there might not be a book but it really drove me crazy when they wouldn't be open with Emily about why she was in danger or her past history with her dad and his family. Something else that also bothered me was the treatment of women by the club. Although they were more respectful (according to Oz) compared to the other motorcycle club mentioned in the book, I thought it was still kind of a misogynistic society where women were viewed as belonging to the members. Their nickname of "old ladies" and the wall of bras really got my hackles up. I think I would have liked it more if women were allowed to be members of the club and treated more equally.

As I mentioned above, I liked Emily. She is smart and driven and she has plans for her life. It really turns her world upside down to find out that her mom hasn't been entirely truthful about the past. Spending time with her dad's family is eye opening and she does have the chance to explore new experiences and learn new things about herself. First she has to overcome her anger and her doubts and prejudices. I also liked Oz. His dream has always been to be a member of Reign of Terror and to work for their security company like his father. Unfortunately he messes up when he is supposed to be protecting Emily so he has to work hard to regain her dad's trust. He initially doesn't like Emily and blames her for causing her grandmother Olivia to suffer more. Olivia has cancer and has longed for a renewed relationship with her granddaughter. She has also been like a second mom to Oz. As Oz and Emily spend more time together they begin to fall in love and Oz also starts to rethink some things about the club and his future.

Overall I liked this book but didn't love it. The main characters kept me invested in the story line and while I guessed part of the big secret early on, I still wanted to know how things turned out. It was a quick read and a page turner especially towards the end. What disappointed me was the behavior of the adults--both Emily's mom and stepfather and her dad and the other adults in the club. They were pretty controlling of Emily and lying to her which wasn't cool with me. A lot of heartache could have been saved by their being more open and honest. I also found the club's treatment of women to be a little controlling and borderline offensive. I've read paranormal romance novels with werewolf packs that behaved in a similar manner and if readers like that sort of strong Alpha male thing, this might appeal to them more than it did with me.

While I liked Emily and Oz, I am not yet fully committed to reading the rest of the series though there are some characters I want to know more about like Violet and Chevy. Just because this book didn't quite work for me does not mean that it won't be a good fit for other readers. Perhaps I am more sensitive about certain things.  I think teens who have enjoyed McGarry's other books and authors like Simone Elkeles and Jennifer Echols will like this even with its flaws. The forbidden romance between Oz and Emily is definitely an appeal factor. Also fans of Sons of Anarchy might have a better appreciation of Nowhere But Here than I did.

Some other  reviewers' thoughts on the book:

The Reader Bee "Nowhere But Here is an excellent beginning to what should prove to be another awesome series by Katie McGarry"

Quinn's Book Nook "Although Nowhere But Here was mostly what I expect from a Katie McGarry novel, something was missing and unfortunately this book didn't work for me 100%"

Unconventional Book Views "Nowhere But Here was like a double-hit: one to the gut, and one to the heart"

Brandi Breathes Books "Another great one by McGarry exploring love and relationships with family and friends"

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley


  1. I have to agree with you about the way the adults acted and held secrets from Emily. I think she may have been more safe had she known the secret, because thanks to her adoptive dad, she really didn't realize how much trouble she could be in. And everyone holding the secret bad from her really annoyed me. Also, I agree about the way the club treated women. It definitely wasn't as bad as some things I've read, but you'd think with Olivia being such a strong woman, that things would be a little different there. I'm actually hoping that between Emily and Violet, things will change for the ladies in the group in the future.

    I'm wondering if Chevy and Violet will even be together in the future books. There are four books planned, and only four characters, so I'm wondering if Violet and Chevy are going to fall for someone else. We shall see, I suppose.

    Great review!!

  2. Great review, Christina! I've been reading a lot of mixed reviews for this one. I may just try to finish the PTL series before I check out this one. I think the adults in this book might drive me nuts.


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