I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
If you are a fan of Katie McGarry’s past books and don’t want anything new or innovative then this is the book for you.
Although, if you’ve read the Pushing the Limits series and a got a little annoyed at how pedantic the series came to be and was like maybe a new series will allow McGarry to get her groove on.
Well, to slightly alter a quote from this book. A quote that is actually used in the blurb (because that’s how good it’s supposedly suppose to be) and if you’re more interested page seventy-three: You Run, Reader. You Run And Keep Running…”
Yeah, reading this book definitely was.
Oh, man did this book annoy me. For various reasons both personal and not personal. Which is why I’m going to divide said review by these items. It makes it as objective as possible and, well, if you don’t get pissed at the same things as me and can handle cliches. You might like it.
The writing was as engaging as ever.
I think that’s McGarry’s strong suit. Reading this was very, very, easy.
1) Lazy Descriptions:
I’ll give you an example of some of the quotes McGarry uses.
The guy leans against the corner of the brick building as if he doesn’t have a care in the world. He’s around my age, has black hair, is definitely ripped and he has suck-me-in blue eyes* that wander over my body like he’s seeing me with my clothes off. (33)
This is something I’d expect to see in a fan fiction or a first novel. Not by a very popular author who’s on her fifth book.
Come on now.
If it was any other author how would you react?
Yeah, thought so.
2) Instant Love, Attraction, Whatever You Call It
I’ll admit these two had cute (if cliche) moments together. I wasn’t a huge fan of Oz and Emily though, and I think a lot of it was because there was so much relying on instant attraction/love. It just doesn’t work for me.
And yeah, I know they didn’t actually get together for quite awhile in the book, but other than being physically hot to each other I really didn’t feel this relationship like I did with Beth and Ryan and Noah and Echo.
Instead, it relied on what McGarry has used in her past two novels, instant attraction. And I am really not a fan of that.
3) Lack of Character Development/Interaction:
Again, this goes with the romantic relationship AND really all of the relationships with the book. They were superfiical at best. I think the only two relationships that might’ve sort’ve gotten any development were Emily’s relationship with Olivia and maybe Emily’s relationship with her adopted father. Even though he’s barely in this book, he really does play a more important role than Emily’s biological father.
Yep, I said it.
As much as an emphasis is made on blood, I didn’t really see Emily and Eli’s relationship develop through the book. We’re told they’re more acquainted with each other but I really didn’t see it.
4) De Ja Vu:
Again I have seen this in almost all of McGarry’s books. That’s right, I said all of them. Even thoughPushing the Limits and Dare You To were wonderful they all rely on essentially the same plot:
I loved how the formula was handled in the above mentioned two books then it grew stale. And now it’s just sort of annoying and borderline sad because really at this point McGarry should be branching out. Contemporaries can be different. It doesn’t have to all be “I’ve Got a Secret That You Won’t Find Out Till the Last Forty Pages”.
1) Emphasis on blood being more important than adoption:
Throughout this book there was a huge emphasis about how much blood matters, and I felt like adoption got shafted yet again.
You see this a lot in fiction-in all forms of media (I am looking at you Once Upon a Time)– and it is a shame. Adopted relationships I really believe should have precedent over blood ones because that person chooses you to be a part of their life. To be forced to visit your biological sperm donor just grates on me the wrong way.
And yes, I know it’s more complicated than that. But still.
I feel sorry for Jeff. He got shafted. And anyone who has been adopted or is considering adopting shouldn’t have to read quotes like this.
McKinley blood runs in your veins. Take a stand and tell them you’re staying. (47)
Seriously, blood isn’t that important. It doesn’t define who you are as a person. I get that Olivia wants to be closer to her granddaughter, but these remarks just sort of annoyed me more than anything else.
2) Bad Boy Heart of Gold:
How many times do I have to read about this stupid cliche? And McGarry really goes for it too. I liked her take on it better though in the Pushing the Limits series. Here it just seems to be done so much that it was just a prerequisite other than really a testament to Oz’s character. But like I said before…we really don’t know Oz. Just that he has a really stupid nickname.
3) Stupid Names:
Oh, the names make my eyes bleed in this one.
Oz is bad enough. But the next book is going to focus on a guy named Razor. A product you see in your bathroom. Honestly, I don’ t know why she didn’t name a character Soap, Shampoo, Tampon, or maybe Toilet Paper. Seriously.
Those names made my eyes bleed.
Even Chevy’s name made my eyes bleed and that name’s not as bad as Razor. But still. Or maybe it’s I’m desensitized at this point to people being named after cards
I think there was some explanation about these being their club names, but Eli and Cyrus didn’t seem to have a club name.
Or to be fair, maybe I missed it. I was really sort of skimming it at that point.
4) Subjective Matter (probably grates on me because I watch CNN all the time and had it on the other week when that motor cycle gang had that shoot out in Waco):
Yeah, probably not the best time for the book to be released. And I’m already sort of predisposed to getting annoyed with motorcycle riders since my annoying cousin Bert is one. Luckily, he’s not the dangerous type even though he and his club got kicked out of a candy factory in Texas-I think just for clogging up the parking lot but whatever.
5) Rude People:
Okay, they do sort of grow on you.
And I’m not just talking about the bikers.
Emily got on my nerves to much like Lara Jean in To All the Boys I Loved Before. I hate innocent, naive YA protagonist. Scratch that, unrealistically naive protagonist. I actually do like the innocent YA protagonist if it’s done realistically, however that rarely happens.
Honestly, this book just disgusted me. While not overly offensive it was grating in the fact that there felt like there was no growth for the author in this book. iIt was more or less a regression.
The writing, for whatever reason, was engaging. So again, I will give you that.
Avid fans will like Nowhere But Here, but for me it was a definite pass.
Overall Rating: A big fat C. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but the writing was decent. It really was a huge cliche though.
*I have bolded certain words in quotes that have induced groaning.