Nowhere but Home: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

The strategy on the gridiron of Friday Night Lights is nothing compared to the savagery of coming home . . .

Queenie Wake has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup . . . again. Now the only place she has to go is North Star, Texas, the hometown she left in disgrace. Maybe things will be different this time around. After all, her mother—notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money—has been dead for years. And Queenie's...

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Nowhere but Home: A Novel

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Overview

The strategy on the gridiron of Friday Night Lights is nothing compared to the savagery of coming home . . .

Queenie Wake has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup . . . again. Now the only place she has to go is North Star, Texas, the hometown she left in disgrace. Maybe things will be different this time around. After all, her mother—notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money—has been dead for years. And Queenie's sister, once the local teenage harlot who fooled around with the town golden boy, is now the mother of the high school football captain.

Queenie's new job, cooking last meals at the nearby prison, is going well . . . at least the inmates don't complain! But apparently small-town Texas has a long memory for bad reputations. And when Queenie bumps into Everett Coburn, the high school sweetheart who broke her heart, she wishes her own memory was a little spottier. But before Queenie takes another chance on love, she'll have to take an even bigger risk: finding a place to call home once and for all.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Queen Elizabeth Wake is a chef on the run from her painful past growing up in North Star, a tiny town in east Texas. She's worked all over the United States and has just been fired from her latest job at a hotel restaurant in New York City. Now Queenie must return to North Star to live with her older sister Merry Carole. The Wake sisters had it tough growing up because of their mother, Brandi-Jacques Wake. BJ was famous for two things, her cooking and her habit of dating other women's husbands, the latter resulting in BJ's murder by her best friend. Queenie takes a job at the local prison cooking last meals for prisoners on death row. Her work leads Queenie to exorcise the ghosts of her past and get closure from her mother's murderer. VERDICT Palmer (More Like Her) uses details about cooking and high school football to create a vivid picture of small-town Texas. The characters are fully realized and the setting authentic. This appetizing, colorful tale of a young woman finding herself and finding love again will please readers who enjoy smart chick lit.—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. System, TX
Publishers Weekly
The latest winner from the bestselling author of Conversations with the Fat Girl centers around Queenie Wake, a talented but ornery cook who returns after 10 peripatetic years to her small Texas hometown of North Star to reckon with an unpleasant past. Queenie and her older sister Merry Carole still have trouble shedding the town-pariah status given to them by their promiscuous mother, long before she was murdered by her vengeful best friend. The town’s mean girls are now mean women, and catty showdowns are a guilty pleasure to read. Queenie still has feelings for Everett Coburn, who as a boy had been forbidden to see her. As she tries to ignore him, she takes a job at the prison that houses her mother’s killer, making last meals for the condemned and meeting Hudson Bishop, a handsome professor who helps get her mind off of Everett, though she finds his academic interest in capital punishment infuriating. Palmer deftly conveys how parents’ hang-ups can easily be passed on, or, in some cases, nullified by the next generation. For the most part, the author has a light touch with some very heavy subjects, and though the book’s conclusion seems more forced than destined, the story makes for an intriguing, moving read. Agent: Christy Fletcher, Fletcher and Co. (Apr.)
New York Journal of Books
“Nowhere But Home is a nice, warm snack.”
Booklist
“Palmer deftly covers the complicated ground of family and hometown loyalty in this funny, poignant novel.”
Kirkus Reviews
A heart-wrenching tale told with true wisdom and a brilliant wit that morphs into a heartwarming and inspiring experience. The book opens with Queenie Wake getting fired from her job as a chef at a Manhattan hotel restaurant. She has been through similar failures in cities across the country from Los Angeles to New York, always on the run, but this time she decides to head back home to North Star, Texas. Growing up in North Star, Queenie and her older, loving sister were doomed to inherit the disdain of the community due to a mother known as the town harlot and a completely absent father. Their mother was killed when Queenie was 16, and she still harbors mixed feelings about the neglectful mother's untimely death. She returns home to cheer when her sister's son debuts as the star quarterback on the high school football team, but she is not really certain she will stay. Once there, she reconnects with the love of her life, whose marriage to a socially more suitable woman, selected for him by his upper-class parents, is the reason Queenie left North Star in the first place. On the career front, she gets a job cooking last meals for death row inmates at the local prison. This job will lead her into one of the most moving and inspiring scenes any writer could possibly imagine and thence to the happiness that she craves and deserves. Along the way, Queenie will witness, and sometimes influence, positive changes in the lives of other residents of North Star. Palmer (More Like Her, 2012, etc.) demonstrates a remarkable grasp of human psychology. Her running interior monologue is so funny and real that the reader quickly relates to Queenie. The dialogue is equally real, and each character comes alive with his or her own distinct voice. The excellent use of language and metaphor makes several long back stories feel short, and the author handles the complex connections with superb skill. An uplifting reading experience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062101488
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 3,594
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Liza Palmer is the author of the international bestseller Conversations with the Fat Girl, as well as Seeing Me Naked, A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents, and More Like Her. An Emmy-nominated writer, she lives in Los Angeles, California, and is hard at work on her next novel and several film and television projects.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Different

    This book is published by Harper Collins, so the reader knows the content and editing will be much better, than the usual Smashword's releases. I paid $2.99 for this 285 page novel. While it held my interest and was completely different than any book I have ever read, I am not sure I liked it or not. It is a romance, one of those star crossed lovers, wrong side of the tracks, heroine down on her luck and must go home again books, that is where the usual goes off the beaten track and forges a new unusual pathway. I loved Queenie and her family, the plot was realistic, and I know people just like those depicted in this book. I understood the humor and found the death row meals extremely emotional. I cried a few tears over the hardships faced by this family. This is not the type of book I typically read and I honestly do not know how to rate it. I am giving it four stars out of five, because it so unique and has more pluses than minuses. This book's content was unexpected. It was a fast read and I would like to read a sequal to see how this family turned out, now that the crises has been resolved. There is a past murder, violence, (mostly non-descriptive) a lot of cursing, talk of sex, but no actual sex and some religion. There is out of wedlock children and past prostitution, child neglect, bias against the poor and lots of emotion in this book. There is also family love, strong friendship, caring people and people fighting for their place in the world and never giving up. Chick lit. I think mature 16 year olds could read this, but not for anyone younger.

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    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    Although this book is funny as only as small southern town can b

    Although this book is funny as only as small southern town can be, there is nothing breezy or simple about the story. It’s full of difficult choices, heartbreaking confessions and the struggles of growing up and letting go. Queenie is a fantastic main character. She’s bright, temperamental and broken. Anyone who has ever come from a broken home or dysfunctional family will understand some of what Queenie and her sister are going through. Merry Carole will be your second favorite character. As the older sister, Merry Carole is tough, no-nonsense, and burdened by a heart of gold. This tale of redemption, love, and knowing your self-worth is one that everyone should read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2013

    An unusual novel: equally predictable and unique. While mu

    An unusual novel: equally predictable and unique. While much of this plot is predictable and full of devices we have seen plenty of times before-- a character being forced back to confront a past tightly woven into small town history and prejudices--the twist Palmer gives this is what stays with me, as a reader. Palmer's main character, Queenie, ends up taking a job as a death row 'chef' responsible for creating last meals for doomed inmates. Have to admit I have not read that one before--and Palmer does a very fine job of making that plot twist, and its accompanying scenes, totally engrossing and emotional. Quite honestly, I would have preferred that be more of the center of the story and often predictable, clichéd elements edited out or at least given short attention. Chief among these elements any savvy reader can see coming from a million miles away: the requisite small town 'mean girls' who, surprise, end up having their own secrets; the standard, hunky, childhood sweetheart who may or may not still be carrying a torch for Queenie; the small town stereotypes, and good grief! Did the town's name have to be 'North Star?!' Nothing like hitting us over the head with the obvious, and any reader can see the big, revealing, 'twist' coming in the first quarter of the story. All that being said, Palmer has a great eye for small town way of life and the eccentricities Texas ones in particular--including the preferred cuisine. I have lived in small towns my whole life--and here in Texas--for many years. Palmer does it well. So do not let predictable plot devices steer you away. This is an engaging novel that I may find myself going back and reading again.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Sklem

    What a good read. This was my first book by this arthor. Well be reading more of her books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    Better than expected

    At first I thought this would be highly predictable, but it turned out to be an emotional story, with lots of "story" to it. I enjoyed it, and will look for other works by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    A MUST READ BOOK..............

    I really enjoyed reading this book I had trouble putting it down!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2013

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A small town in

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings
    A small town in Texas packs quite a big punch in this sweet and endearing look at how a small town works and the ways that it can destroy some of its own.  Queenie Wake has been an outcast her entire life - she just never quite fit in and maybe it is because of the drama from her mom, but I don't think she helped the matter either.  Her and her sister reacted in different ways to the abuse from the small town - she ran from it.  She returns to North Star, TX, but isn't sure she is there to stay.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    'Nowhere But Home' is a heartfelt novel that follows main charac

    'Nowhere But Home' is a heartfelt novel that follows main character Queenie Wake as her life spirals downward and leads her back to her hometown of North Star, Texas. Going back home means dealing with her family's reputation and being known as one of those "Wake women." Her mother was a notorious man-stealer and her younger sister has been branded as a gold-digging harlot. Queenie is hoping that people and home have changed and that things will be better once she moves back. Of course, we all wish for things that just don't happen. To top it off, Queenie's high school love, Everett Coburn, is back in town and is bringing old heartache back to light. Will Queenie be able to leave the past behind her and move on? Will old secrets tear her family apart or will she be able to stand by them?

    This was a wonderfully written novel that was full of fun, light-hearted characters and memories along with heartbreaking realizations, self discovery, and the strength of love. The writing was fantastic and I was immediately drawn into Queenie's world. She was an interesting main character - strong and witty yet flawed and uncertain at times. She was easy to identify with and I was rooting for her early on in the story. The plot was fresh and fun but dealt with deeper topics underneath the surface. It talks of family, love, the past, secrets, self discovery, and inner strength. Although there are aspects of the book that are heavy, the book itself was light and a fast read. The characters - especially Queenie - and the dialogue really keep the book moving and flowing seamlessly. The writing was very well done and shows the immense talent the author possesses. Definitely recommended for fans of women's fiction and contemporary fiction!

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2013

    While I have a few friends from the State of Texas, I've never b

    While I have a few friends from the State of Texas, I've never been there myself. But in reading Liza Palmer's latest release, Nowhere But Home, I found it possible to wish I was a native like the residents of North Star, Texas, home to Queenie Wake and her sister Merry Carole.

    Queenie, (short for Queen Elizabeth), a chef with a temper and a chip on her shoulder, gets fired from her latest position in New York City, and with no where else to go, she's forced to head home to Texas, and her sister and nephew, in the Hill Country town of North Star. She's been working in different cities, trying to outrun her feelings for the man she was in love with since she was eleven years old, Everett Coburn. "Ever," a man from one of North Star's golden families, was persuaded by his family to end his relationship with the daughter of the town "floozie." Unfortunately for both Queenie and Everett, there would never be anyone else.

    Queenie returns to live with Merry Carole and Cal, her nephew (the star quarterback on the high school football team). She gets a job cooking in a state prison for death row prisoners and while the job is stressful in ways she couldn't begin to imagine, she's the master of her own kitchen and begins to understand how her past and her upbringing have colored her outlook on this small town and its inhabitants.

    Filled with touches of Queenie's unique humor, Nowhere But Home is actually a coming of age story, for Queenie, her sister, her nephew, their friends, Everett and even the town mean girls, who after all these years, still try to intimidate the Wake sisters until their own pasts catch up to them.

    Liza Palmer, in a wonderfully written contemporary story, reminds us that no matter how old we are, there is still growing up to be done, and that love, in the end, can conquer all. It's a potent recipe for a very satisfying read.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    Awful book

    Unlikeable protagonist, lazy writing, vulgar. Avoid.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    great book

    my granddaughter bought this book and is really enjoying it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    Pat

    I dont fuc.king like you you who.re

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    Prim

    ?........

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Sport

    I think they need more nascar books

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    I question that death rows have their own cook

    As it is possible to be there for years can each meal a request?

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews

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