Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road, #1
Released: June 4th 2015
Publisher: Mira INK
Length: 496 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
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.
It is now abundantly clear that McGarry and I will never find common ground. I’ve read several of her books by now, and while I tried very hard not to nitpick, I inevitably struggled to finish them. It needs to be said that I went into this book with the best of intentions. I was hoping that a new series would mean a clean slate, a new opportunity and a chance to build a very different opinion. Alas, it was not meant to be.
I have to say that I fully understand the appeal of Katie McGarry’s books. They’re passionate and clever and they rely on well proven formulas. McGarry always seems to know what she’s doing, why she’s doing it and how she should go about doing it, and the end result is always a YA contemporary romance built to please her readers.
The effect on me, however, is precisely opposite.
It is awfully nice to see McGarry move to a different settings, with different characters and different circumstances. Nowhere But Here takes us to the world of motorcycle clubs, be it legit or otherwise, and people who live within these brotherhoods and consider them to be more important than anything else in the world. I applaud McGarry for her attempt to show that bikers aren’t all criminals and brutes, but in order to actually achieve that, her characters needed much more nuance. I felt that Emily’s newly discovered family members were all clichéd and some scenes and descriptions made me slightly uncomfortable.
Emily herself was somewhat of a cliché, which bothered me to no end. In order to create a strong contrast between her and Oz, McGarry made her too innocent and pure, far too naïve and forgiving. It’s a common problem I have with her characters – they never quite seem real to me. Oz was even more of a cliché. A womanizer and a bad boy all around changed his ways the second he met a beautiful, innocent girl. But what really made me pause was how he seemed brainwashed at certain times, a club drone with no thoughts of his own. I understand now it was a journey he needed to take, but at times it was pushed too far.
There’s no denying the quality of Katie McGarry’s writing, though. She may re-write the same formulas, but she does it exceptionally well. Her style is clean, precise and capable of evoking just the right emotions at exactly the right time. It is, I dare say, her saving grace in my eyes and it’s why I kept trying with her books even after several disappointments.
It’s clear, however, that it’s time to give up. My aversion to contemporary YA is certainly to blame, but several authors like Melina Marchetta, Jandy Nelson, Kirsty Eagar, Cath Crowley or Laura Buzo have been able to temporarily cure me of it and yet Katie McGarry never did. I suppose that alone says all there’s left to say.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.