**This Nowhere Place was sent to me in exchange for an honest review by Michael Joseph Books/Penguin Random House. Thank you.**
‘That’s the thing about our town: people only come here if they’re going somewhere else.’
One grey afternoon, high on the cliffs of Dover, two girls agree to help a stranger.
Within months, two of the three girls are dead.
In the years that follow, the local legend grows around the events of that summer – and, with the one survivor refusing to speak, it seems the truth will never emerge. Until a documentary-maker arrives, determined to solve the mystery of the Dover Girls.
But some will stop at nothing to keep this town’s secrets…
This Nowhere Place is dark and sheds light on the tragedies that can unfold when life overwhelms someone and friendships turn sour.
Documentary filmmaker, Tarek Zayat, is enraptured by the case of the Dover Girls and wants to uncover all the dark secrets behind what lead to the deaths of the two girls. Only his story goes far beyond what you could possibly imagine. The story hits closer to home than he initially realised. The local legend suggests the girls, Jude, Cali, and Mo had a suicide pact which leads to the awful events that happened to them all. Jude, the only survivor who remains wheelchair-bound, has aspirations of becoming the Mayor of Dover and it is clear she’ll stop at nothing to make that happened. Rose, Cali’s sister, simply wants to tell the story of her sister and the tragedy that lead to her death while her wife wants her to stay quiet. The web of lies is so tangled and messy that its unraveling is exciting to be a part of.
I actually found all of the characters to be fantastic. I’d argue Cali was the only ‘likable’ character but due to her situation at home, she never felt she could live life to its full potential. She was so trusting and caring of others, and that really showed when she chose to help Mo. Jude always came across to me as pretentious, jealous, and relatively spiteful. The growing relationship between Cali and Mo caused huge issues with Jude. This went beyond the natural teenage jealousy of your best friend preferring someone else’s company.
Rose was an odd-ball for me. I could understand how she ended up desperate to escape her hometown. If the circumstances were different, I really feel she would never have left Cali on her own but she had to live her own life. She’s always toying with the grief of losing Cali, and the guilt of leaving her behind for a hopefully better and brighter future. I felt for her on that because Cali shouldn’t have been her responsibility regardless of them being sisters.
Tarek’s story was very intriguing and problematic. His need for the truth behind what happened to Cali and Mo was far more personal than you’re first to lead to believe. I loved that twist with his character. His backstory is heartbreaking and you really hope he gets the answers he was looking for.
There we so many layers to this story that your head is spinning from start to end. What I really loved about it was how this book is laid out. You’re given interview snippets from Rose and Jude, whilst also getting information from ‘Then’ (2016) and ‘Now’ (2026). I thought this was very cleverly thought out and made it an even more entertaining read. Sometimes I find too many points of view can be overwhelming, but this book worked so well because you got every side of the story. It was so wonderfully written that I was completely wound-up in what happened that day on the cliffs.
I thought the ending of the book could have been stronger and I wanted all the answers. Whilst the main question is answered, there were a few loose ends that you’re left to tie-up on your own. I prefer to know there and then what the situation is without having to come to my own conclusions.
I thoroughly enjoyed This Nowhere Place and rate it 4.5/5 stars. The layout of the book and how great the story was really drew me in and kept me guessing. I’d highly recommend this to fans of psych thrillers.