Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne
Published by Ylva publishing
Genres: Young adult, LGBTQ+, contemporary, romance
“Finn’s solid. Not in body, but in being. She’s gravity and kindness and all those good things that anchor.”
“Willa’s confusing. Sometimes she’s this sweet, sensitive soul. Other times she’s like a flaming arrow you hope isn’t coming for you.”
Finn and Willa have been picked as team leaders in the future leader camp game. The usually confident Finn doesn’t know what’s throwing her more, the fact she’s leading a team of highly unenthusiastic overachievers or coming up against fierce, competitive Willa. And Willa doesn’t know which is harder, leaving her responsibilities behind to pursue her goals or opening up to someone.
Soon they both realise that the hardest thing of all is balancing their clashing ideals with their unexpected connection. And finding a way to win, of course.
I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Future Leaders of Nowhere is like a breath of fresh air, with its intelligent and steadfast female characters, diverse cast and a refreshing outdoor setting. This unique read with dual perspectives is easily a book you can breeze through in one sitting.
I can’t start this review without talking about the diversity in this book! Our two protagonists in this book are both LGBTQ+, Willa being both bisexual and Indian. There is also an asian side character and an overweight side character. This book is just brimming with diversity and I think it has great representation. Despite the romantic relationship being a primary focus of this novel I found that it didn’t overtake the other important topics and themes that were addressed. This book dealt with a multitude of issues such as family, gender equality and of course sexuality.
I didn’t know this prior to jumping into the book but this story is based in my home city Melbourne, Australia! Some of the locations mentioned in this book are crazy close to where I live! I thought that was incredibly fascinating as I don’t think I’ve read any books based in Melbourne or authors from Melbourne. Talking of authors, I found out that the author of this book, Emily O’Beirne is a Melbournian herself! Yay for local authors!
Future Leaders of Nowhere is told from two perspectives: Finn and Willa. The first half of the novel is told from Finn’s point of view and the second portion from Willa. Both characters are loveable in their own way, in some ways they are both very similar but also completely different people. They are both headstrong and defiant, both leaders of their group at the camp. I love how they were both mature for their age, took situations seriously and weren’t bothered for the most part about fickle things. Sometimes the worst thing about a young adult book can be the immature whiney teenage characters who lack depth and dimension, however this isn’t the case at all with Future Leaders of Nowhere. Finn’s sweet, she loves art and always takes in account other people’s feelings. As much as I adore Finn though, I do have to say that Willa’s perspective was definitely my favourite between the two. On the outside Willa’s all business, she’s less of the social butterfly and is always getting work done. But what I really liked about Willa and her perspective was getting to know what goes on inside her head and finding out she’s actually very insightful and introspective.
In the background of all this was the refreshing outdoor camp setting, which I found brought a sense of authenticity to the novel. The lush descriptions of nature was both rejuvenating and calming in a sense. The characters didn’t have access to their mobiles or any electronics for the most part, and being surrounded by nature in its truest form really brought out the true side of the characters.
Overall, Future Leaders of Nowhere was a unique and diverse read with its great cast of characters and open air setting. If you love a cute LGBTQ+ romance with headstrong and resilient female characters, and you have a love of the outdoors I’d definitely recommend this book!
*Quotes have been pulled from arc and are subject to change*
“‘Don’t be one of those people who gets all depressed about the state of the world and just sits there,” he’s always told her. “Be one of those people who does something. Even something small.'”
“It’s no good having ideals if you’re not tough enough to fight for them.”
“Or, maybe she’s not thinking much but is just letting the hurt and the sad wash through without attaching it to anything. Sometimes that’s easier. And Willa doesn’t disturb her. Because she knows what it’s like to have your problems take up all the room inside you. How sometimes, just when you think you’ve pushed them back to manageable size – showed them their fair share – they burst out again, filling you up.”
“She said she couldn’t right now. Not a simple finite couldn’t. Not couldn’t ever. She couldn’t now. Willa likes now. Now has the potential to change. To become someday or next week or maybe even soon. That now has the semantic potential she needs to dwell in and hope on.”
“Finn’s already told her how she used to worry about this stuff. used to think she had to decide: guys or girls. That you couldn’t be stuck in between desires like she was. Then she realised she wasn’t stuck anywhere. There was nowhere to be stuck.”