This book reminds me a ton of another book I did a passionately positive review of earlier this year, I Stop Somewhere. The Nowhere Girl is another rageful takedown of rape culture, and I hope this becomes an entire young adult subgenre, as hard as these types of books can be to read.
In The Nowhere Girls, the actual victim of the central crime is not a main character: instead, the story is set in a small town in which a teen girl was gang raped, then run out of town when she dared to press charges against the boys who committed the crime. Set after these events, the book follows several other teen girls as they discover their own anger over this, and over rape culture in general, and try to work together to change the culture in their school.
I appreciated the diversity of characters here, though I’d love to hear from others to hear how well written each character was: as a queer mostly-neurotypical white lady, I’m not a good person to speak about how well the characters of color and the character on the spectrum were written as representation. But I’m glad we didn’t just get the typical mix of “different kinds of white girls” as protagonists.
What I liked most about this was also what I liked most about I Stop Somewhere: the palpable mix of rage and sorrow over what women have to live through and with, and the strong desire to do something, ANYTHING to make it better.
I will say one weakness is one of the main villains: the principal. While the rapists themselves, the local police force, and other supporters of rape culture in this book are believable, the principal is sometimes almost cartoonishly evil. That’s not to say that I don’t believe that people in the real world actually act like her: I definitely do. But I think the book would still have been better served toning down her brand of evil a little bit, or even better, spreading out her actions among multiple people in town. Still, this was a great read.