Book Review: Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1)
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Page Count: 496
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I have been excited about this one since I first heard about it. I loved Noah and Echo's romance and McGarry's style of writing that I first became acquainted with in Pushing the Limits. Sadly, I need to read the other novels in that series but time hasn't allowed for it as other Lark reviewed those titles. As soon as I saw this one involved a motorcycle club, I knew that I had to make time as soon as this one was in my hot little hands. If it's any indication how much I loved this one, I put in a preorder for a hardback copy the moment I savored the last sentence of the ARC. This is a 2015 favorite.

In McGarry fashion, the story is told from the perspective of dual narrators - Emily and Oz. Emily has lived a sheltered life in Florida with her mother and step father, Jeff. Jeff adopted Emily when she was little so he's been more like a biological father than an adopted one in many ways. Emily doesn't think about her biological father, Eli, often. He shows up once a year and takes her shopping, but otherwise the two have little contact. All that changes when Emily's mother receives an obituary for Olivia, Eli's mother. The family packs up and heads to Kentucky for the funeral. It will be the first time Emily has visited Eli's family and the visit will show her that everything she thought was true may be a lie.

While in Kentucky, Emily meets Oz, the son of a member of the Reign of Terror, who is hopeful that one day he will join the motorcycle club's ranks. Emily's arrival in Snowflake, Kentucky has everyone on edge and danger lurks. Eli decides the only way to keep Emily safe if to keep her under the watchful eye of the club; he assigns Oz with the task of being Emily's bodyguard. Oz has to do a good job with this assignment if he ever hopes to become a full fledged member of the club. It's impossible not compare Oz to Jax. My mind just kept going there even though Reign of Terror is tame compared to the Sons AND Oz looks nothing like Jax. The whole bad boy in a motorcycle club must have been what sent my mind down that path. That isn't a bad thing. I love me some Jax so Oz is in good company. I also feel like having Jax as a reference point helped me visualize everything that was happening with the club.

At the beginning, Oz and Emily can't stand one another. Emily is close minded and stubborn while Oz is wild and reckless. As time passes, a strong bond forms between the two and they learn that they balance one another out nicely. Emily teaches Oz to stand up for what's right and to forge his own path while Oz teaches her to take risks and fight through her fears. I loved watching these two evolve throughout the course of the novel. McGarry has a way of writing relationships that seep off the page and into your heart. I'm already craving the next novel in the series as I hope to catch more glimpses of Oz and Emily while learning about another character introduced in this one. I can only hope that Razor and Chevy will have novels of their own at some point.

I also enjoyed trying to unravel the mystery of Emily's past. I did figure out the big twist, but that was only after carefully scrutinizing all the little nuggets that McGarry littered the story with to help point me in the right direction. 

In addition to the relationship between Oz and Emily, I was also attracted to the relationships between her and Eli and her and Olivia. Olivia is a memorable character who had me tearing up and cracking up at various points. There is also something endearing about Eli. Its obvious that he cares deeply for Emily and it bothered me that he missed out on so much of her life. The moment when the reason behind his star tattoos is revealed made my heart clench. McGarry writes compelling adults in this one and I would even love to see some of them get their own novels at some point. 

Pushing the Limits is one of my favorites, but I have to admit that Nowhere But Here has edged into the top McGarry novel slot. I loved everything about this one - the romance, the motorcycle club politics, the danger, and the characters. Snowflake is a vivid town full of intrigue that won't leave my heart or mind any time soon. I highly recommend this one if you're a fan of McGarry's previous work or you're looking for a contemporary with some drama and romantic elements. I've also been reminded of how much I love McGarry's writing which means I need to finish her previous series as soon as I can possibly manage to work it in. So many books, so little time!

One Last Gripe: I want to know more about exactly what went down between Violet and Chevy.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The emphasis on family and loyalty

First Sentence: Top Three Awful Moments of My Life: Meeting my biological father at ten, Breaking my arm in three spots at nine, Falling into a hole and being trapped there overnight with a dead body at eight

Favorite Character: I loved Oz, but I'm going with Emily. She has a strength and courage about her. I also admire her integrity.

Least Favorite Character: the Riot members

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.


  1. Family is the number thing to me. I think I'd love this book too. Great review!

    1. Thanks for checking out the review! :)

  2. I agree about Oz/Jax. In my mind, Oz became Jax. Couldn't help it. I also merged Cyrus/Clay, Olivia/Gemma & Eli/Chibs!

    Too much of an SoA fan I guess - I did love this though!

    1. I kept picturing Olivia as Gemma too! I think it's a natural leap and not something that McGarry necessarily intended. I'm glad you loved it too. :)

  3. Oooh, yet another one of Katie McGarry's book I have yet to read. I haven't read any of them, actually...lovely review :)

  4. Wow, I'm so excited to read this one!! Everyone's been talking about this one!

  5. This looks like it's going to be one of my favorites!

  6. A town named Snowflake's gotta be interesting!

  7. I'm not the one for romance books but I might be sold if there's more to it than just romance or a really good plot twist so if I ever want a break from my "non contemporary" books I guess I can count on this one to be my first choice.


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