Stuck in bed with a book and a broken ankle, Katie McCabe must deal with her anger toward the town bully who put her there. Katie is still reeling from the grief of losing her father, her home, her friends, and life as she knew it before her world fell apart. As if she isn’t dealing with enough, she’s restless from being cooped up in the house with Uncle Charley and three overprotective cousins. While plotting revenge against the bully, Katie is outraged when warned to keep quiet about how she got the broken ankle. Her new family tries to make her comfortable by sharing parts of their own past as Katie tries to settle in. But it’s cousin Sarah’s job to keep Katie in bed, and watch over her when a love interest from school comes calling. Despite her new family's good intentions, Katie feels like an outsider. Will she ever belong? To Katie, Nowhere Feels Like Home.
In this much anticipated installment of the Misfit McCabe series, Katie McCabe manages to capture the hearts of teen readers as she struggles to fit in with her new family and overcome the obstacles she must face. LK Gardner-Griffie’s ’Nowhere Feels Like Home is a book young readers will cherish for years to come! - Shannon Yarbrough, author of Stealing Wishes
Welcome back, Katie McCabe!
Reviewed by author, Linda Welch
Readers of all ages fell in love with fourteen-year-old Katie McCabe when they discovered MISFIT McCABE, the first book in LK Gardner-Griffie's young adult series. Now they can follow Katie's adventures in book two, NOWHERE FEELS LIKE HOME.
In MISFIT McCABE, when Katie's father became seriously ill she went to live with her Uncle Charley, cousins Matt, Mark and Sarah. Almost before she could take the next breath, she lost her father, her home and her friends. Life for Katie would never be the same. Then Katie got into the worse trouble of her life when her new arch-enemy, bully Harvey Denton Jr., along with his cohort Emma, abducted Katie. Harvey then took Katie into the hills, where he left her bound and gagged, but not before pushing her into a river. Katie almost drowned. Trying to find her way home, she slipped and broke her ankle and then was bitten by a rattlesnake. Katie struggled back to civilization. NOWHERE FEELS LIKE HOME picks up the story where MISFIT McCABE left off.
After an extract from Katie's diary, which serves to reacquaint readers with the events in MISFIT McCABE, chapter one begins poignantly with Katie in a delirious sleep, reliving almost drowning in the river. She hears the voices of her father and mother, only to wake and remember they are dead. From this first page to the last, readers are pulled back into Katie's world and all who inhabit it.
Katie learns that her war with Harvey Jr. is only the tip of the iceberg in an ongoing feud with the Dentons, and escalates an already tense situation. She is besieged by unexpected, unwelcome, confusing emotions which appear out of nowhere in the form of sudden fits of raging anger or overwhelming sorrow. Cousin Sarah explains that this is a reaction to the trauma Katie experienced, and teaches Katie ways to cope. Underneath it all, Katie faces the same confusion known to fourteen-year-old girls the world over as they mature; she has the same questions. Sarah and Katie discuss topics important to a growing teen in a way I wish my mother had talked to me.
In fact, Cousin Sarah is a major player in NOWHERE FEELS LIKE HOME: a confidante, elder sister, substitute-mother and friend. At the same time, she doesn't give in to feisty Katie's tantrums an inch.
To ease Katie's boredom, Sarah shares moments of her childhood and early teens. Katie is surprised and delighted to know Sarah was very close to her father Sam and mother Marie, and learns of events her father never mentioned. Through Sarah, we get to know the McCabe brothers, Sam, Charley and, to a lesser degree, Sarah's father John. Katie realizes that young Sarah was not so different; she, like Katie, had her moments of rebellion.
To further complicate Katie's life, she now has a boyfriend. Of course, that would not in Katie's opinion be a complication, if she and Tom were not under Sarah's eagle eyes all the time. When her best friend Timmy turns up at the McCabe farm, she realizes that their relationship will never be the same, either.
I waited for toad-like Harvey Jr. to reappear, and LK Gardner-Griffie does not disappoint. When Harvey re-enters Katie's life, he does so with a vengeance.
In NOWHERE FEELS LIKE HOME, Katie gains maturity and (reluctantly) learns the art of compromise. Although at the beginning of Katie's story she feels that "nowhere feels like home," she learns that Uncle Charley, Sarah, Matt and Mark have her best interests at heart. She is family, and they teach and protect her the best way they are able.
After reading a preview of the next book, I can't wait for the author to publish the third in the MISFIT McCABE series!
Nowhere Feels Like Home Feels Like a Great Book To Me!
Reviewed by Shannon Yarbrough for the LL Book Review
I was given the privilege of reading LK Gardner-Griffie's new book, Nowhere Feels Like Home, while it was still in its infant stages before publication. I was first introduced to LK's writing when reading her first book, Misfit McCabe, the first in a series of three books following the teenage days of Katie McCabe.
Katie becomes displaced from her routine after her father gets sick and passes away, and she has to go live with Uncle Charley and her cousins. The book came to a climax when Katie was kidnapped by her school bully, Harvey Denton Jr., and left in the hills all alone. After almost drowning, then getting bit by a rattlesnake and breaking an ankle, Katie finally made it home alive.
Nowhere Feels Like Home picks up right where the first book left off, where we quickly discover that while Katie is okay and recovering, things don't really feel like "home" to her. She still feels displaced, and if it wasn't for the broken ankle forcing her to stay in bed most of the day, she'd probably be back out there into trouble or searching to find her own self once again.
As I emailed back and forth with LK during the writing and editing process, I can remember in the very beginning how she had no idea how she was going to write a book with her main character stuck in bed with a broken ankle throughout most of the book. I was anxious to see how she was going to pull it off as well.
As an author myself, I know the challenges of coming up with a plot and then finding out how you are going to move your characters through it. What scenes will you create and how will you connect them? What conversations will your characters have and how will they be relevant to the plot? How will you breathe life into your characters without making them seem like stiff pawns just moving around on a chessboard?
After getting to know "Kit-Kat" so well in the first book, it was obvious the second book would have to focus more on Katie's new family: Uncle Charley and Katie's three cousins. And that is exactly the focus that LK took. There are indeed some very heartfelt conversations that take place from the edge of Katie's bed between her and Cousin Sarah and Uncle Charley, shedding a bit of light on who her relatives are and why Katie should have no problems in calling their place her home now. Then there's Cousin Matt and Mark, two rebellious boys, who respect Katie and make her laugh, and take up for her. LK embraces the emotional and physical discomfort that Katie is experiencing and uses it to further mature her lead character even more so than she did in the first book.
This is also a book of secrets beginning with Katie being instructed to keep quiet about how she broke her ankle in the first place. Katie also discovers that her personal vendetta with Harvey Jr. runs deeper with a family feud between hers and the Dentons. Katie and Sarah share moments as Sarah helps Katie cope with her pain, and sheds light on Sarah's personal love life while Katie gains a boyfriend of her own. Timmy, Katie's best friend whom she got into trouble with in the beginning of the first book, also makes an appearance and further solidifies Katie's premonitions that things are changing, whether she likes it or not.
In the end, this is a book about family and not the traditional family we know as a mother, a father, a brother, and a sister. Sure, Katie is with blood relatives now who love her just as much as her immediate family did, but such a transition during your teen years can be hard when what you need the most is a place and a family to call home. LK balances this theme with Katie also adjusting to fit in with her peers, while avoiding the trouble that made her the "misfit" in the first book. It's been nice seeing Katie mature and develop so nicely.
I'd also like to point out the beautiful cover of this book. And while I loved the bright colors of the cartoon cover that Misfit McCabe had when I first read it, LK has since given it a makeover to match the new "teen" feel that she presents with Nowhere Feels Like Home. LK definitely knows how to appeal to her target audience and knows how important that book cover is in making your book marketable to your readers. Well done!