BOOK REVIEW: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

05 August 2015

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1)
by Katie McGarry (Goodreads, Website, Twitter)
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 26th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eBook (304 pages)
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.

In Nowhere But Here, we meet Emily who reluctantly returns to Kentucky with her parents to visit her biological father and attend her grandmother's funeral. The only thing is, her grandmother's not dead--breathing but sick--and it seems that there's some bad blood going on with Emily's mother and her former in-laws, and Emily is caught in the middle of it.

Emily's biological father, Eli, is a member of a motorcycle gang, but the thing is, they're not bad people. They work as a legit security company, only in the form of armed, harley riding thugs. In fact, they'd prefer to be called as a brotherhood rather than a gang. Things are in a rough patch with the club as they've stirred a little bit of dangerous conflict with a rival gang. With Emily's arrival to Kentucky, Eli knows she's in danger and needs protecting, so he gets Oz to do the job.

The characters didn't really wow me in this book, and I didn't like Emily's character at first. Her judgment towards her biological father and his family appeared to be really jaded, like an angry child in denial, but she reading on, I came to understand why she acted that way. Oz was no different. His instant dislike towards Emily for coming back and "ruining everything" was ridiculous at first, because everything he lives for is the club and his family. However, both of them do undergo huge character development as the story progresses.

Emily and Oz's budding romance took the cliche turn; small town biker boy falls for the good girl with a little bit of instalust going on. It's not fluffy, nor is it cheesy and adorable, and seemed pretty much like a New Adult read to me because of the steamy aspect (though it was still tame enough to be in a Young Adult novel), had it not been for their ages (Emily is seventeen and Oz is eighteen). Obviously, with Oz the bad boy, all he could think of was Emily's curves the moment they first met, and god forbid Emily thinks he smells like burned wood and leather like every other biker boy to date.

What I love about this book is it wasn't all about the romance, but rather, family and friendships were a great aspect in this novel. Emily's blooming relationship with her father, Eli and her grandmother, Olivia was a favorite part of mine, and how Emily came to realize why they kept secrets from her in order to keep her safe.

Yes, this book had a lot of secrets and they came popping out one after the other, and I've got to admit, it was frustrating to read, as if I, along with Emily, were participants in a messed up scavenger hunt to find answers. Thankfully, despite the cliche plot line, Katie McGarry has some tricks up her sleeve and a major plot twist occurs that caught me off guard. Touche, McGarry.

Nowhere But Here is my first Katie McGarry novel, and I have to admit, my expectations were pretty high when I picked this up since the author is well known for her Young Adult contemporary romances, but that doesn't mean this book was a disappointment to me. In fact, it was a good read and is somehow the Young Adult alternative to a romantic suspense novel, but it wasn't something that exhuded the 'wow' factor. If you're looking for a tamer version of a New Adult romantic suspense novel, you might want to check this out.