Review: Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O'Beirne


Note: This ARC was provided by Ylva Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Still, she tried to tell herself that she was simply intrigued by this small, dirty-blonde dealer in hope. It didn't last long, though. Because that's the trouble with being smart. You can only fool yourself for so long. So when she saw Finn walking toward her on the oval each morning, she soon recognised that responding thump in her chest for exactly the rude, beautiful thing it was.

Just when I think Emily O'Beirne couldn't possibly outdo herself, she does and does so with a new young adult novel that I feel is perfect for young women to read, especially with March being international women's month. Future Leaders of Nowhere is the story of sixteen-year-olds Finn Harlow and Willa Brookes, two girls who go to different schools but are participating in a month-long leadership camp. They're competitors, each one the leader of their respective teams, but they also become unlikely friends. The more they get to know one another, the more we get to know them as well, and soon, there's something more that develops between the two of them. But with their peers relying on them to bring in a win, will they be able to band together or will competing pull them apart?

The story is told in two parts, first from the third-person perspectives of Finn and then that of Willa. It's easy enough to spot the differences between them, but being able to see whatever was happening around them from their respective points of view allowed me to see just how similar they were as well, not just in terms of how they are in school but also with their home lives. I confess that it was far easier to like Finn than it was Willa, but then maybe that's because readers get to know Finn first. They're both equally intelligent girls with a drive to do the best that they can and not just because it's expected of them. They have complications when it comes to their families and they've both gotten their hearts broken, but together at this camp, but they're resilient and focused.

Aside from the love story between Finn and Willa, I can't help but want to stand up and applaud Emily O'Beirne for her use of a leadership camp. It was like a reflection of the state of the world right now, but then maybe that's just me and I'm seeing more than there actually is. It gave me things to ponder on, and while some of the teenagers in this story did grumble in the beginning--okay, for the most part--about having to be in different territories and needing to come to agreements--there were serious life lessons that were learnt, and these were things that aren't exclusively meant for the youth of today either. I'm in my early 40s and I sat back after reading the book and thought about what I would have done had I been Finn and Willa and how the world does work similarly enough.

If it's one thing I've learned having read all of the author's published work so far is that she never ceases to give you more than you expect. She's outdone herself with Future Leaders of Nowhere and being an admirer of her work, I'm thrilled to find out that we get more Finn and Willa in a sequel entitled All the Ways to Here, which is slated for release later this year. I'm interested to see how these two future leaders will be navigating their way through their new relationship now that they're in the "real" world and with all the complexities of school and family thrown into the mix. But since that's still several months away, I'm going to encourage you to pick up a copy of Future Leaders of Nowhere and experience its awesomeness. It's a thoughtful, empowering five-plus-star read. ♥

Release Date: 15 March 2017

Date Read: 15 March 2017

Learn more about Emily O'Beirne.

Purchase Future Leaders of Nowhere on Ylva Publishing | Amazon.

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