On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Natasha Bell, This Nowhere Place.
Nothing ever happened here . . . Until the first girl died.
Ten years ago, Mo arrived at the white cliffs, befriended by teenagers Cali and Jude.
They thought they’d save each other.
Within months, two of them end up dead, the third scarred for life.
Now, documentary maker Tarek is asking difficult questions about what happened that summer.
But the truth is something that must be unburied carefully . . .
Or it might just it bury you.
This Nowhere Place is a haunting and a very powerful read by Natasha Bell. I think I was expecting a slightly more different read when I first picked it up, but as the storyline unfolded, I found it all the more immersive.
Natasha Bell tackles some tough themes in her novel, including racism and suicide. She paints a very vivid picture of the town of Dover and the tensions which are running high. The book is set in 2016, the year of the Brexit referendum and 2026, ten years on. A decade on from the events in 2016, a young man, Tarek, a refugee, is making a documentary. He wants to find out what happened a decade earlier in the summer when two girls died.
It is in 2016 when best friends Cali and Jude meet Mo, a young girl who has recently come to Britain from Syria. She is on her own and living in an abandoned lookout post from World War Two. Mo is desperate to reach her family in Manchester, but she has no means of contacting them. Cali and Jude feel compelled to help her.
Mo was a character I really felt for in this book, and Natasha Bell captured the horror of her situation really well. I can only imagine what people in Mo’s position must go through in their attempt to flee countries that have been torn apart by war. I wasn’t sure if I could quite trust Cali and Jude when they first meet Mo. Although they appear to want to help her, I couldn’t help but think that there was something else going on here between them. Soon two of the girls will end up dead.
What I did like about this book was that Natasha Bell told part of it in the form of a television documentary. I really liked this perspective, and the short snippets from the documentary which Natasha shares with us made me even more eager to find out what happened in 2016. I wanted Tarek to find out what had happened in 2016, and I was rooting for him all the way.
This is a really well written, thought-provoking book. This Nowhere Place is an utterly compelling read. I really enjoyed it.
Publication date: 18th March 2021
Print length: 367 pages
This Nowhere Place is available to buy: