Book Review: American Nomads
Updated: May 19
American Nomads was written by N. L. McLaughlin and published by Scribner in 2019. You can purchase it on Amazon/Kindle and you can visit the author on Amazon and on social media.
Hands down, one of the best and most memorable character driven stories I have ever read.
They are nomads, a roaming group of young adults, inspired by living life without jobs and the absence of four walls of a house to constrain them. They travel by hopping trains and they sustain themselves by stealing and socializing with other bands of traveling vagabonds who have also chosen a life of limitless freedom and adventure. Beth, a typical teenager, in a middleclass town, meets up with River, a drifter in a small group of traveling misfits and a bond is formed. River is beautiful, outgoing and confident; all of the things that Beth aspires to be. River soon introduces Beth to her traveling family of friends: Zac the protector, Cash the likable con man, Finn the feral and mistrusting one and Teague, thoughtful and calm with a funny Cajun accent, a partner to Finn, he tries his best to keep Finn in check and to bring out the best in him. Beth is excited to hear the stories they tell her and when they offer for her to join them, she doesn't hesitate. She learns the fun and dangers of hopping a train, camps out under the stars and soon she is sharing her nomad experiences with her online friends and immediately her posts go viral. But not all is fun and wonderful. When behaviors of a few of her companions turn to a dark and disturbing side, she wonders if she made a horrible mistake. What will Beth do? With her safety at stake will she continue to follow along with these people or will she go back to her old life? I read and review many books over the course of a year, and it is not often that I come across a story that focuses on this, mostly unknown, segment of our population. I find the lives of these people very interesting, and I crave to learn more. In this respect, the author has delivered beyond what I could have imagined. Although this is a work of fiction, the characters are rich and absorbing and it's hard to believe they don't actually exist. Many readers, editors and publishers have said that the characters steer a story and make or break a book. American Nomads should serve to define what good character development is all about. Hands down, one of the best and most memorable character driven stories I have ever read. I look forward to reading more in this series. American Nomads is a must read!
I give American Nomads a 5 out of 5 stars.
Nancy McLaughlin is a scheduled guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show #117 on June 13, 2022