Title: Nowhere But Here
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road Series
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: May 26, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)
The summary of Nowhere But Here from Goodreads:
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.
I really enjoy McGarry’s books. There’s enough drama to keep me interested, but it doesn’t feel too over-the-top. They always seem to pull me right in and I care about her characters right away. Nowhere But Here was no exception.
The story was unique. I hadn’t read a story involving a biker gang before, and I actually put off reading it for that reason. I’ll admit to being a little worried about this series, and I didn’t want to read it in case I didn’t like it and then there’d be a notch against McGarry in my reader’s belt. However, the book isn’t anything like what I expected. The bikers provided an interesting backdrop and dynamic that I really enjoyed.
They are kind of an all-or-nothing group. When you’re in, you have expectations and guidelines to abide to. You have to prove your worth. You gain a family who would do almost anything to protect you. It was really amazing to read.
Emily is a very sheltered girl. She’s had a safe, easy life away from her father. Her mother has kept her protected and sheltered from the darker aspects of their past. Emily loves her mother, but is torn between wanting to respect her mother’s wishes and wanting to know where she came from. When the opportunity to stay with her father and learn about that side of her family comes up, Emily is scared to take it, but tries anyway.
Her growth was fantastic. When she arrives, she easily frightened because of the stories her mother shared. But the longer she stays with them, the more open and understanding she becomes. She begins to see them not as the bad people her mother painted them as, but as a strong group who, despite a stereotypical look, are actually some of the best people she’s met.
Oz is a major factor in her development. She’s the type of guy she’d been protected from. Her mother didn’t want Emily to make the same mistakes, but Emily decides to take a risk. Oz is immediately against having Emily stay for a few weeks. He only sees her as the painful part of the group’s past. She’s a forbidden topic and a painful memory for many of the group. He doesn’t want to see his biker family deal with more pain just because Emily shows up.
Over time, though, he realizes that she’s not the person he thinks she is. After given the job of protecting her during her stay, Oz comes to realize that she doesn’t know much about the group, but it’s not her fault. She doesn’t understand the reason for her father’s wounds because she couldn’t have done anything to prevent them. And her feelings towards the group are created because she only ever got one side of the story.
The more time they spend together, the closer they become.
The rest of the story is just as interesting. The rivalry is not what I expected, but it really fit well with the rest of the story. Everything seemed to make sense once I realized the truth of the rivalry.
I’m sure there are people are going to find issues with certain parts of the story. There’s a bit of slut-shaming, which, in many other stories, would turn me off. However, it was part of Emily’s character, and helped define who she was at the beginning of the story. If someone grew up sheltered, and was led to believe things about a certain group of people, that person isn’t going to suddenly believe something different the minute they meet other people. She’s been trained and taught to not like these people, and she’s going to find something to support her dislike and distrust. It would only be a problem for me if she didn’t grow a person from the beginning to the end of the novel.
My only issue with the novel was how quick and easy part of the resolution felt. The build up seemed disproportionate to how quickly a certain matter was solved. I expected a little more, especially considering how intense the scenes before it were.
McGarry fans should definitely read this. Contemporary fans will enjoy this book, too, I think. It’s not exactly a light and happy read, but it’s not too heavy, either. If you’re looking for a book that’s got a little bit more meat, but will still end up making you feel happy and content, this is a good book for you.