The Nowhere Girls

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Book List for a Class on Feminism

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week in honour of summer coming to an end and it soon being the start of the new school year, we can create our own reading list for a topic of our choice. I chose feminism as I think both fiction and non-fiction are a great way to get people talking about feminism and see how it can affect different people.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Moxie is all about a girl finding her voice and finding a sense of unity with the girls in her school, crossing the usual cliques, and learning to stand up for what she believes in.

Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin
Since reading Who Runs the World? I’ve thought about it fair bit and would give it a lower rating than I did when I read it, but I think it would be a good book to show the “extremes” of feminism and how if there’s no men, it probably wouldn’t be a utopia.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Besides being a great book, The Hate U Give would be a great book to look at the intersectionality of feminism and racism.

 

Men Explain Things to Me and Other Essays by Rebecca Solnit
Got to have some non-fiction in a class on feminism. This is a short collection of essays and one of them is the origin of the term “mansplaining” so that would be an interesting thing to discuss.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
The three main girls are all different, Rosina is a Mexican-American lesbian, Grace is fat, and Erin has Asperger’s, but they come together to try and change things as another girl was run out of town for accusing the popular guys at school of gang rape.

I think all these books would prompt good discussions about feminism. They offer different takes on feminism and a lot of them have strong, complex female characters who are trying to find their place in the world but are trying to make things a little bit better at the same time.

What books would you choose if you were running a class of feminism? I’m sure there are many great books I’ve forgotten.

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REVIEW: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Grace is the preacher’s daughter and the new girl in school. Rosina is bold and outspoken and dreams of music rather than working at her family’s restaurant. Erin is often misunderstood but her love of science and order doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel. The three of them are brought together by the idea of changing things, of justice for Lucy Moynihan – a girl who was run out of town for accusing the popular guys at school of gang rape. Together, Grace, Rosina and Erin form the Nowhere Girls, an outlet for their rage and a place of strength and decide to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew.

The Nowhere Girls is a phenomenal book. It’s like Asking For It meets Moxie but it’s its own thing and what a powerful, heartfelt thing it is.

The Nowhere Girls is told in alternating perspectives, so you get to be inside Grace, Rosina and Erin’s heads, as well as see glimpses of what other girls at their high school think and feel. Having these moments from other characters points of view, some of which are unnamed characters, shows the wide scope of feminism as one black girl muses the movement must’ve been started by white girls because if a black girl did it they’d be seen as disruptive, while a trans girl wonders whether or not she’d be included in the group or would be seen as a spy.

All three main protagonists are well-rounded characters with their own problems at home, whether that’s an over-bearing parent or a family member with dementia, but they form a unique bond over their passion to change things. They are also a diverse group of characters. Rosina is Mexican-American and a lesbian, she’s comfortable with her identity but she’s not sure if she’ll ever tell her mum about her sexuality, Grace is fat and has a lot of faith in God but not necessarily in people and Erin has Asperger’s and is reserved but smart and is trying to live her own life.

What Grace, Rosina and Erin do together is start a movement in their school for the girls. It crosses the boundaries of normal high school cliques, as girls come together to talk openly about sex and boys and how both make them feel – the good and the bad. It’s a very open and honest take of girls’ sexuality and it’s refreshing to see girls talk to one another about it and share their experiences. Through this movement, the girls at the high school become empowered and have a sense of unity that crosses social circles like they never had before – it’s wonderful to see.

The ending of The Nowhere Girls made me cry because it was so hopeful, emotional and inspiring. Grace, Erin and Rosina start something amazing but it’s every other girl in the school, and some boys too, who stand up and stop letting the boys who say sexist or racist or homophobic things getting away with it.

The Nowhere Girls is so great I read it in three days. I couldn’t put it down as I longed to give these girls a hug and to tell them how amazing they are, seeing the strength of the solidarity between young girls was just brilliant. It is one of those books that everyone, especially young people, should read. The Nowhere Girls does deal with a tough topic, but it’s handled well and sensitively, and shows there is hope that justice can prevail. 5/5.