Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry, published June 2015 by Harlequin UK (Mira Ink).
Read: June 2015
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighbourhood. 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.
I’ve read two McGarry books previously, Pushing the Limits and Dare You To. Both were 4/5* reads for me – they’re swoony, really enjoyable, and usually have more depth than a stereotypical contemporary. I have two other books from the Pushing the Limits series to get to, and I’m looking forward to reading them, but I need to wait for the right time. When I’m in the mood for an emotional, feels-inducing romance. When I first heard that McGarry was releasing a new series, I was intrigued. Was she branching out? Away from the romantic contemporaries she writes so well? Well, no, not really. Nowhere But Here, the first book in the Thunder Road series, does see McGarry get a little more… gritty. There’s a motorcycle gang or two, and there’s some violence. But the heart of the story is McGarry at her best – teen angst, family issues, and a male lead to make your heart race.
Nowhere But Here got off to a slightly slow start for me, it took me a little while to settle in to the story, mostly due to the initial pacing and the sheer number of characters introduced in a short space of time, but once I did find my feet (around the 30% mark), I was hooked. The story is told in two alternating POVs (which we all know I LOVE), and I think McGarry has really nailed this form of story-telling. I loved that there was an element of mystery to this novel, it undoubtedly added to the story, and even better – the mystery elements are layered, and revealed slowly throughout the read. Eventually, I couldn’t put this book down, I raced through to the end of it at 1AM and I was definitely feeling all of the swoons. It’s the kind of book that gives a single gal a book hangover for a day or three.
Now, for the not-so-great-bit. So far, McGarry has been a solid 4/5* read for me, and this book would have gotten 4/5* too, but I feel like I need to knock it down because there’s a whole lot of male, macho, no women allowed mumbo jumbo. Sure, it could be realistic to how these clubs work, but it makes my blood boil, and I can’t ignore that. I wanted to suspend reality and as much as I have to appreciate that it’s a motorcycle gang, and it’s fiction, and there’s tradition involved – at times this book was just so sexist. Like, “Grr, I am man, hear me roar” sexist.
I know I’m definitely going to be reading more McGarry books in the future, but I might stick with finishing the Pushing the Limits series, before I pick up more from Thunder Road... I said “might”.