Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
Thunder Road #1
Published May 26, 2015 by Harlequin Teens
Hardcover, 496 pages
Borrowed from library
Emily Jennings live a nice, unencumbered life in Florida with her mom and her dad so when her biological dad in Kentucky sends an obituary for her paternal grandmother and her parents decide to go to Kentucky for the funeral, Emily isn't excited. In the least bit. She doesn't know much about her biological dad except for the fact that he's a biker and while she is a little curious, she isn't willing to give up her perfect life to dredge up the past that she and her mom both agree are better off being ignored. But then Emily gets to Kentucky and slowly, slowly, finds herself settling into life there and opening up to all the people part of the biker club who she's come to love. But tension is in the air and there could be a very real threat that will tear Emily away from everyone she loves.
This is probably one of the most ridiculous books I have ever read but I loved EVERY MOMENT OF IT. Katie McGarry is my SHIT, you guys. I cannot get enough of her. Although I find that her books do tend to get a bit formulaic, it's a formula that lures me without fail every single time so you know, how can I complain? When it comes to YA romance, there is no doubt that Katie McGarry is one of the BEST.
Nowhere But Here centers around our main character named Emily who's a very straight-laced, stick to the rules type of gal and on a trip back to Kentucky, where her biological family is from, she gets caught up into the "family business" of sorts which is the biker club and it's through the club that she also meets Oz, her dad's best friend's son. Who's been raised with the club and cannot envision his life without the brotherhood of a biker club. And then obviously, they meet... sparks fly... but also DANGEROUS BECAUSE BIKERS AND MOTORCYCLES AND GANGS AND STUFF.
I think one of my greatest hesitations going into this book was the whole inclusion of a biker club. I probably shouldn't have been so quick to judge as I know next to nothing about them but when I think biker club, I think Hell's Angels, Sons of Anarchy and usually some illegal activity? And I feel like after reading this book, my opinion has changed slightly? I understand the idea of wanting a brotherhood and having people to back you up who you know you can trust but also there were other parts that I still didn't love. Like the objectification and over-sexualisation of women which made me uncomfortable. But despite that, I still thought McGarry offered a new and enlightening perspective on biker clubs.
And now about that romance... I actually really liked Emily and Oz together. I didn't love Emily as a main character, thought she was a little frustrating but I really liked Oz! In all honesty, I'm still not sold on, like, the tall, leather jacket wearing, sorta brutish dude who rides motorcycles (why Noah wasn't a favourite either) so Oz won't be one of my favourite boys out of all the McGarry novels (that probably goes to Ryan or West) but you know, I really admired him. And OBVIOUSLY Oz wasn't ACTUALLY a bad boy. Obviously he was the bad boy who's a secret softie which you know, by now, I should be tired of but I'm not? Because Katie McGarry is damn good at writing and at writing romance in particular. There are some scenes in this book which, if anyone else had written, I WOULD HAVE PEED MY PANTS OFF AND NOT TAKEN THE REST OF THE BOOK SERIOUSLY AT ALL but because it's Katie McGarry, the casual fall into hot boy and I am holding you close to protect you but then oh my god my breathing's stopped / hitched what!!! still makes me laugh, I admit, but also makes me really antsy for like THE BIG MOMENT when the main characters finally kiss or get together. REALLY GREAT ENTERTAINMENT VALUE HERE THOUGH. The entire time I was reading this book I think I was frantically oscillating between FITS OF LAUGHTER and SCREAMING and SQUEALING. You will get laughs and swoons so what's not to love?
Besides Katie McGarry works in some really lovely side characters as well. Honestly I think I was MORE in love with the side characters. I adored Olivia and Eli. THOSE TWO ARE MY JAMS. They were so well-developed and done so thoughtfully and in all honesty they made the book so worth reading in addition to the romance.
So another successful Katie McGarry! Even though this wasn't one of my favourites, I still really enjoyed it. I think no matter what Katie McGarry's books will ALWAYS be addictive. Even though I feel like I'm borderline exhausted of the good girl meets bad boy from the ghetto storyline, I also love how her books deal with a different sort of reality than I'm used to? I think it makes her stories incredibly interesting and entertaining.
Definitely have started noticing a certain formula Katie McGarry uses for her books but it hasn't stopped my enjoyment whilst reading any of her books yet so I'm okay with it. Nowhere But Here isn't a book I would typically go for but because it's KATIE MCGARRY, I enjoyed wholeheartedly even despite not being sold on our protagonist, Emily. I enjoyed the romance and loved the side characters. The writing was great as always and I enjoyed the dual POVs. I think in Katie's books, they're actually very useful and helpful. Will definitely read the next book in this series!
if you enjoy romances along the lines of Miranda Kenneally or if you enjoyed I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, you will enjoy this! Perfect for someone who's looking for a well-written YA romance that also touches on themes of family, friendship as well as has excellent side characters.
Willa @ Willa's Ramblings says: "Nowhere But Here is yet another remarkable book from Katie McGarry, one of my all-time favorite authors. It’s worth not only a read, but also a reread, and another reread."
Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales says: "Overall, Nowhere But Here is a wonderful read with beautiful moments of family, hot romance and great characters!"
Sarah @ What Sarah Read gives it 4.5 stars: "As I mentioned before, Oz and Emily have amazing chemistry, so it’s only natural that we get some feels-filled moments."