Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Released: March 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 388 pages
Genre: Young Adult / Mystery
Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.
Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.
Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon—she'll be next.
High School Junior Nearly Boswell has three rules she is expected to follow: A. No bad grades. B. No getting into trouble, C. No touching. If she follows her mother's three rules, she hopes that it will lead to winning a scholarship, which will gain her entrance into a good college. Nearly has a few secrets. Her mother works as an exotic dancer, she has obsession with the personal ads ever since her father left 5 years ago, and she can taste someones emotions if she touches their skin.
Things take an abrupt turn for the worst, when Nearly finds a cryptic message left on her desk. Later, ads start appearing in the paper Nearly reads, which leads to students turning up dead. For someone reason, a killer has targeted Nearly and everyone around her. Nobody is safe, not even the stranger who comes to school in the middle of it all. But, why? Why is someone intentionally trying to ruin Nearly's life? Can she figure out the ads and the meaning behind the numbers left behind before she is next?
Nearly is such an interesting character. She tutor's fellow students 5 days a week while never ever thinking that she's smarter than anyone else. While she lives in a trailer park with her stripper mother, she doesn't allow her environment to control her goals or how she acts towards others. She tries to maintain her friendship with her friend Anh, even though they are fighting neck and neck for the scholarship. Throughout Nearly's struggles to find out who is make her life harder, she still maintains her goals without giving them up.
I also don't have any problems with Mona, Nearly's mother. I don't care that she's working as a stripper. I care that Mona has goals for her daughter. I care that she's actually a pretty smart person who was given two copper coins instead of a golden rainbow. I care because unlike her father, she never left Nearly alone to her one devices. I care because not all strippers are failures in life, or ignorant, or uneducated as people believe they are.
Nearly Gone does a have a bit of a romance as well, but it doesn't overwhelm the mystery, or Nearly's pain in trying to figure out who has it in for her. I have to give Cosimano a whole lot of credit for making the romance a slow burning one, and not love at first sight. Nearly already knew that she was being targeting by the police. She had the advantage and kept the knowledge from everyone. When Reese shows up, Nearly eventually spills the beans, but holds it until she can trust him. Later, a friendship turns into something else.
Nearly Gone has a complicated mystery that leaves you wondering who Nearly can really trust. Can she trust her best friend Jeremy who has been acting strangely? How about Reese, the troubled stranger who comes to school to watch over Nearly? The pieces to the puzzle are littered all along the story. If you are like me, you will probably find yourself laughing when you realize Cosimano played you like a violin.
I'm eager for the sequel called Nearly Found. I am hoping that my library purchases the book soon so I can find out what happens next to Nearly and her goals that have been temporarily put on hold. Overall: Definitely recommended.