Review - Nowhere But Here - Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1)Title: Nowhere But Here
Series: Thunder Road #1
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication: May 26th 2015, Harlequin Teen
Pages: 496 Pages, Kindle
Source: Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes, but really, I'd give it an infinity amount of cupcakes. YES IT WAS JUST THAT GOOD.
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.

WARNING: This is a review filled with squealing and fangirling. Proceed at your own caution.

GUYS. THIS BOOK. It was amazing, it was flawless, it was stupendous, it was...basically every adjective for freaking awesome. When I saw the blurb for this book I knew that I was going to fall absolutely in love with it and I WAS RIGHT. This book blew me away and I can safely say that it's one of my new favorites. 

Nowhere But Here is about seventeen year old good girl Emily whose quick trip to her biological father's home town turns into an extended vacation filled with motorcycle gangs and clubs, family secrets and the devastatingly handsome Oz. Emily believes she knows what has happened with her family, she believes she knows why her dad didn't bother seeing her very much, she believes she knows who she is and she believes that the motorcycle gang is exaggerating the dangers of the opposing motorcycle gang that are venturing into the Reign of Terror's (the motorcycle club her biological father is part of) territory. However, Emily is about to learn about her concealed past, about her mom and dad's past and the horde of secrets that are beginning to seep out, with the help of Oz - the biker assigned to protect her - Emily soon unveils the secrets she's been dying to find out.

That wasn't a very good description, was it? But seriously this book is EPIC. That's what originally drew me in: the whole concept of this book. I've always found bikers to be terrifying and mysterious, but I think I've always secretly harbored a large interest in them as they're something unknown, something feared and slightly elusive as well and I found that aspect highly interesting. Through reading this book I got to experience the life of being with the "bad boys" and embrace my tough, biker side...haha just kidding, I don't have one of those, I like pink and fluffy animals and motorbikes scare me. But seriously, Katie McGarry did a great job in portraying bicycle clubs, what they stand for, the loyalty, the protectiveness, the family aspect. I just found the whole thing - the intrigue and the danger - so exhilarating. 

She did a fantastic job creating the atmosphere to do with motorcycle clubs, the mysteriousness, the perils, the euphoria of being a part of something so steadfast and loyal. There's often this stigma about bikers, that they're cruel, felons and breakers of the law, and although Katie McGarry doesn't sugarcoat the violence and the activities that can happen between clubs and within them, she also displays their affection, their views, their values and how they would lay down their life for the people they love. 

I loved the characters, they were absolutely amazing and I just love, love, LOVE them! They all have such unique voices and are so distinguishable from the other and they're all so genuine and have their flaws and are so real and UGH, someone hold me! *faints* 

We have Emily, daughter of Eli, the most respected man in the club. Emily is basically club royalty (I found this so fascinating! She was basically like the princess of the motorcycle club and it was so adorable how protective the people of the club were over her!) yet she isn't really aware of this because she hasn't fully grasped the club's dynamics (I loved how we figured out the club's activities and their rules and their foundation alongside Emily - it made the story so much more exciting!). 

Emily is one of my new favorite female characters. She's smart, she's sassy, she doesn't just accept things and challenges news and facts that are thrown at her - which is often lacking in YA - and she is incredibly genuine. I love how Katie McGarry allows Emily to have insecurities and expose her vulnerabilities. It's like Emily is terrified of the dark and the woods due to a traumatic incident in her childhood and she fainted when all the news of the club and her origins was thrown at her. I really appreciated that McGarry allowed Emily to faint because often in YA books the female characters are seen as "weak" if they faint, but I like that this happened as it's realistic and it makes Emily seem even more real because people in real life faint! It doesn't mean you're weak, it just means that you're a REAL PERSON. But yes, I totally adored Emily! 

I also admired her that she was still a virgin and that she didn't just want to give that away to anyone, even someone who she's totally in love with at the time. She would rather wait it out. Virginity is treated like nothing in books (generally) and characters are generally ashamed if they haven't yet had sex, but there are some people that do want to wait and I appreciated it that Emily was one of those people. So thank you, Katie McGarry, for writing a book where a female protagonist knows the repercussions having sex and respects herself enough to wait longer.

I also loved Oz, like I was literally in love with him. He's just so amazing and WHY CAN'T HE BE REAL?!?! Oz has like this bad biker boy vibe about him but he cares so much about his family and friends, he's so loyal, he'll protect the people that he was best friends with before even though they've wronged them. He's also really good with old people and kids, especially disabled kids. It was really heartwarming how he would take time to include children, especially ones with special needs. I also like how he respects Emily and never pushes her further than what she wants to do, which was very gentlemanly of him. He never tried taking advantage of her and he was so nice to her and I just really love him a lot.

Then there's Eli, Emily's biological dad that we don't originally have a good impression of after he "abandoned" Emily and her mom. When I first met Eli, I was quite weary of him due to the way Emily first described him intially but I grew to absolutely love him! He is so protective over Emily and her mother that he would lay down his life for them. I love how much he cared for Emily and I love how they became so close during Emily's visit there and you could just SEE how much it pained him that he had missed out on so much of Emily's life. And the reason for the stars on his arm?! SO FREAKING ADORABLE I JUST WANT TO CRY.

One of the other main characters that we are introduced to is Olivia, Eli's mother. I really liked her, she was so sassy, so brave, funny and determined. You could see she didn't give a hoot about what people thought about her and that nothing would stop her of getting to know Emily and telling her the secrets of her past. *Spoiler*When Olivia had a fit and when she died I started crying because it was such a shock that somebody brimming with so much life could seize to exist. In someway Katie McGarry allowed us to feel the shock of Olivia's death alongside the other characters. Even though we knew it was inevitable, we wanted to remain ignorant to the fact that she was dying.*Spoiler*

I also loved Emily's mom and her stepdad! They were such a close family and I appreciated that they were actively involved in Emily's life and set boundaries for her, as parental guidance is somewhat lax in YA books. Emily's stepdad was so nice though and you could see how much they loved and cared for each other - it was adorable!

OOH AND THE ROMANCE. The romance was brilliant! At first they both know the other would cause them nothing but trouble and initially they really don't like each other but you could just feel the chemistry sizzling between the two! However, despite the physical attraction between the them, you could see that they genuinely loved and cared deeply for the other and that shone throughout the book. But yes, I shipped them so hard. Like, #Ozily is my new OTP.

I loved the plot, as I've said before. I also loved finding out all the hidden secrets about Emily throughout the course of the novel. That ending?! Did not see that coming at all. This book kept me gripped the whole way through and there wasn't a singular moment of boredom!

The writing is lovely as well. Katie McGarry captures the thoughts and feelings of Emily and Oz perfectly, as well as the emotions of the other characters throughout. Also? Her romance scenes are flawless.

Overall, I am absolutely in love with Nowhere But Here! The high expectations I had were met and even exceeded. The characters were diverse and genuine, the romance was sizzling with chemistry, the plot was utterly fantastic as well as unique (I've never read a motorcycle club book before!) and it was just everything I look for in a novel. The family and friendship dynamics were portrayed beautifully and the novel was rife with loyalty, love and protectiveness. This book just made me so incredibly happy and I just loved it so much and it's one of my new favorites and JUST GO READ IT ALREADY.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!