Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry


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. 


When Emily’s mom and dad convince her to attend the funeral of her biological father’s mother, she expects to get in and get out as quickly as possible.  But life is never that easy.  Somehow Emily’s existence and presence in Snowflake is leaked to a rival biker gang that would love nothing more than to cause deadly trouble for Eli’s (Emily’s biological dad) motorcycle club.  Her three parents (mom, dad and Eli) decide it is in her best interest to stay hidden at Eli’s home in Kentucky while her mom and dad fly back to Florida.  No one will have expected her to stay which should keep her safe until everything blows over.  A two week stay turns in to more than a month.  A long visit that allows Emily to acquaint herself with a family she’s never known or trusted.  A visit that also makes her question everything her three parents have told her since she was a little girl.  

When other kids were dreaming of becoming police officers, teachers or doctors, Oz was dreaming of joining the Reign of Terror and working in the family security business.  When Eli asks Oz to prove himself worthy of making prospect by babysitting his daughter, Oz isn’t going to say no. 

At first, Emily and Oz circle each other warily.  Both have preconceived ideas about the other and their way of life and they most certainly do not like each other.  But as they spend more time with each other the more they understand and respect one another.  An understanding and respect that is turning into something more.  
I found the two main characters fascinating.  Emily holds back a lot but finds this inner strength and boldness in certain situations that made her an absolute joy.  The only way to describe Oz is intense.  He’s very experienced and lives in and whole-heartedly embraces a world where the social rules are so different.  At the same time he has this vulnerability about him that belies his age and emotional inexperience.  It’s no wonder that these two characters set my tablet on fire when they interacted on the page.

I also found the different family members and friends more than a bit interesting.  Oz’s parents and friend, Razor.  Emily’s grandparents, cousins, newly gained family friends and even Eli.  There wasn’t a single one that didn’t spark my interest and made me wish for a side story just about them.   I do know that I will at least get my wish with Razor which will be super exciting.

But my favorite part of this story, by far, was the relationship between Emily and her three parents. I just need to put it out there how much I LOVE the way Katie McGarry writes parent/child relationships.  They are amazingly complex and she never holds back from making them unbelievably messy.  They are not the stereotypical horrific or absent parents (obviously there are exceptions…hello, Echo’s mom).  But they are also rarely perfect parents that get everything right.  She writes them as imperfect beings that love their children.  People that sometimes get the parenting thing right but very often don’t.   So many times they are what I like to call the “ambiguous villain.”  They are parents that love their children and try to protect them but in their efforts majorly mess up along the way.  And that is exactly how I saw Emily’s three parents.  

From the beginning you see the love that all three parents have for Emily.  It was both beautiful and heartbreaking to see the amazingly close and trusting relationship that Emily has with her dad and then see how badly Eli wants to have the same relationship with her.  But all that love can’t hide the feeling (for both the reader and Emily) that something is off about their history.  We only know what her parents (all three of them) have told her.  A history that doesn’t put Eli in a very nice light.  But it’s obvious from early on that they are lying.  A lie that you can only assume they concocted for her safety.  But that lie has negatively impacted her in ways she is just beginning to understand. 

Like I said.  Heartbreaking, complicated and all together messy.  And I absolutely loved it.  Needless to say, Nowhere But Here furthers my love affair with all things written by Katie McGarry…



  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as much as you did, Nat! I unfortunately didn't feel the same, mostly because I was perplexed by some of the characters, especially Emily's mom, and the reformed bad boy trope rarely works for me. But I appreciate the quality of Katie's writing, and the romance is pretty swoon-worthy.

  2. I enjoyed this despite some of the issues I had with it. I credit that to Katie's wonderful writing.

  3. Maja - I totally understand. I am hit or miss on bad boys in general and only review those that I enjoy. Give me a nice forever boy/beta hero any day of the week. But, man, do I fall for all of McGarry's bad boys. I don't know what it is. Her writing? He approach? A combination of the two?
    As for Emily's mom, I was a little confused until the end. Then her absence and fear made a lot more sense.

    Sandra - There were definitely some issues. But, for me, the writing and the complexity of the relationships completely won me over.

    Thank you so much for stopping by ladies! Love it when we can openly discuss books :-)

  4. I loved it too! I can't belive that I have waitied this long to read a Katie McGarry book. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one.

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs