Book Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

June 3, 2015 Young Adult Book Reviews 4 ★★★★

Book Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarryTitle: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #1
Published by: Harlequin Teen on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 496
Click it: Goodreads | Amazon

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.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Also in this series: Walk the Edge
Also by this author: Walk the Edge

One Line: A lot of captivating craziness in true McGarry fashion.

In My Opinion: Add to cart!

Well, this was quite the unexpected book. If you didn’t know already, I’m a big fan of Katie McGarry. She’s an excellent writer and has created some of my favorite characters ever. Of course, I was super excited to give her newest book, and series, a try. After all was said and done, the first thing I can tell you is this book wasn’t what I expected. Nowhere But Here has a pretty solid beginning and a pretty touching ending, but that middle was all kinds of messed up and crazy. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s different, and I can appreciate different.

Emily has lived quite the sheltered life, but that still didn’t stop her from having quite a few memorable moments in her past. One particular moment added to her reaction to meeting her grandmother for the first time in such a hilarious way, I could not stop laughing when I read that. I actually liked Emily a lot. After the mess she’s thrown into, I don’t fault her for reacting the way she does. Yes, there were moments she acted childish and rash, but her world is basically turned upside down and no one is telling her anything. I honestly think she acted like a child because those around her, namely her parents (especially her mother) treated her like a child. She’s been raised to believe certain things about her father and those around him and they didn’t really do anything to make it better. To build such respect and loyalty, obviously there’s some good in there, but it took far too long for me, and Emily, to really see it.

It took me a minute to really like Oz. Things started off in the usual format, him not liking Emily, not really bothering to know her, but being stuck with her and eventually seeing how amazing she is. He had his way of thinking and never suspected someone like Emily would come into his life and shake things up. It took longer than I would’ve liked for these two to finally let their guards down, for real, and get to know and understand each other. Before all that happened, he had such a negative view of her, I kind of bugged me. But, once things finally got going between them, I loved them. Oz’s view of his life and of his world was so narrow and pre-determined, I loved that Emily forced him to open his eyes and see what else he had to offer the world. Either way, he’s a pretty good guy and I’m always a sucker for those protective types.

Let me tell you, some of the characters drove me crazy. Case in point: Emily’s mom, Meg. That woman truly tested my patience and she definitely goes down as one of the most irritating and irrational characters I’ve ever read about. I just did not like her at all. A bit too dramatic for my tastes and I just could not get on board with her and her secrets. Yes, after all was said and done, I understood why she did a lot of things, but I didn’t like it and I thought she could’ve handled things a lot better. One thing I cannot stand in the slightest is lying. Secrets and lies push me over the edge. I understand it’s part and parcel to a book’s plot most of the time, but sometimes it’s pushed past the point of necessity, especially given the nature of the secret with some books. I hate when the build up is so massive that when the truth finally comes out, it’s anticlimactic. And that twist? I totally saw that coming. How could you not?

As much as the emphasis was on showing Emily a different side of the motorcycle club than what she thought, I didn’t think there was enough of that to really change her opinion in a believable way for me. She spent most of her time with Oz, and yes, he changed and opened up to her, showed, or rather told her some things, but that was pretty much it. This book built up their relationship, but I was expecting something more. I wanted Emily to spend more time with the other members of the club, especially more family members like her cousin Chevy. Have them show her the strength of their bonds and why all the preconceived notions of them are wrong. Show me, and Emily, how special and committed your group really is. Rough around the edges, I can handle, but it still felt more like they were a rigid, closed-off gang to me despite the fact that they were really “the gang”. I just couldn’t really connect to “the club” idea as a whole.

With that said, I loved Olivia. That old lady’s got spunk and if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have believed Emily’s change in views at all. She definitely made an impact on her and I appreciated how much she cared for Emily, despite her reservations. Her presence was significant, setting things in motion and helping to move things along, and I wished there was more of her in the book. Eli isn’t so bad either, once you really got to know him and all his secrets come out.

While I didn’t really love this as much as her other books, I still really enjoyed it. There were some things that I didn’t care for on a personal level and at times it felt a little too long for what the story really was, but Katie’s writing is as captivating as always and she has the “write a swoonworthy boy” skill down pat. She has a way of moving me with her words so that even if I don’t particularly love the story, I end up loving the book. I still have high hopes for this series and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

About Katie McGarry

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website,, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.

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4 Responses to “Book Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry”

  1. Teresa Mary Rose

    I am so glad to hear you liked Emily too! So many people haven’t been liking her but I really did… I mean I thought the way she reacted was pretty realistic. I like Oz too but it took me a bit to warm up to him as well. Ang ugh Emily’s mother I couldn’t stand. Way too dramatic and too many lies. I pretty much agree with all of your feelings on this and I saw the twist too… Did you pick up on the connection Isaiah from Crash Into YOu has to this series though? Cause it blew my mind! Great review!
    Teresa Mary Rose recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #148: Dream Of You by: Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

    • Vi

      Yeah, everyone doesn’t like Emily for some reason and I thought, what would you do if put in that situation?! Lol. Maybe bc I don’t have a good relationship w/my dad & his side of the family so I can relate to her. Idk. And you know, I totally did not even see that connection, but I saw someone mention it on GR and was like WHOA! Lol.

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