I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
TITLE: Girl from Nowhere
AUTHOR: Tiffany Rosenhan
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
PUBLICATION DATE: July 21, 2020
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Red Sparrow meets One of Us Is Lying in this action-packed, romance-filled YA debut about a girl trying to outrun her past.
Ninety-four countries. Thirty-one schools. Two bullets.
Now it’s over...or so she thinks.
Sophia arrives in Montana with the promise of a normal high school experience. But after a turbulent few years abroad with her diplomat parents, forgetting the past is easier said than done. After all, “normal” high schoolers aren’t trained in several forms of combat.
Then Sophia meets Aksel and finds herself opening up in ways she never thought she could. Except Sophia’s past is about to catch up with her, and she must confront who she really is, why she was betrayed, and what she is capable of in the name of love and survival.
Full of heart-stopping action and breathtaking romance, this cinematic debut features a girl willing to risk everything to save the life she built for herself.
Setting the Scene
Review in 10 Words (or Less)
Confused & disappointed.
Mood Before Reading
In a bit of a slump. 😔
July 3, 2020 – July 15, 2020.
It really didn’t take me as long to read as it looks like. I started it on July 3rd, got to around chapter 8, put it down, and kind of forgot about it. I picked it up again on July 15th and finished it that day.
Girl from Nowhere starts quite fast – we’re thrown headfirst into Sophia’s new life. She and her diplomat parents have just moved to Montana after years of traveling abroad. We get to watch Sophia (struggle to) adapt to the life of a “normal” teenager. I enjoyed the beginning and discovering more about Sophia’s past as she drops details when talking to new friends and through flashbacks.
But then we meet Aksel, Sophia’s love interest and that’s where things start to go a little downhill.
I just didn’t find Aksel interesting as a character – he was a little too perfect. And Sophia and Aksel’s romance was not as good as advertised. It felt a bit like insta-love but less believable. Come on, where’s the chemistry, the fun banter, the awkward interactions? It went from 0 to 100 pretty quickly.
Not to mention, I was honestly quite confused while reading Girl from Nowhere and left a bit confused after I finished. And in this case, “confused” is not a synonym for “intrigued” or “curious”. It is straight up, head-scratching, “huh???” confusion.
One of the causes for all the confusion is all the info dumps that occur. Throughout the first half of the book, bits and pieces of Sophia’s past and her parent’s work are sprinkled into the story. That strategy works well at first to create genuine intrigue and mystery. But then instead of getting crumbs of information, huge wedding cake size parts start falling into the plot. Seriously, there’s an entire chapter of dialogue purely dedicated to Sophia’s backstory. Not only are the info dumps a bit awkward, but they also add confusion and more questions. Instead of helping me connect some dots, I’m stuck trying to figure out how the new details fit in with everything else.
Another cause of confusion is basically everything that went down in the second half of the novel. Girl from Nowhere really starts picking up then, and we go from something Gallagher Girls-esque (think teen spy school) to something out of the Bourne movies (action-thriller movies about a CIA assassin).
I’m kind of confused on how we made that transition, but okay, whatever, it’s fun. I like a bit of adventure. For the most part, I enjoyed reading about all the action that went down, but the more action sequences I read, the more things didn’t add up. Even my overactive imagination and spy/thriller/mystery-loving brain had trouble making sense of things.
I feel like Girl from Nowhere would have been so much better as a movie (the writing was very cinematic) and if there were less info dumps and Aksel was more believable as a love interest.