NEARLY GONE by Elle Cosimano (summary from Amazon.com):
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.
My Thoughts on NEARLY GONE by Elle Cosimano:
Nearly “Leigh” Boswell has one shot to leave her single mom and the trailer park behind her: a chemistry scholarship. To increase her odds, she tutors classmates. That is, until they start turning up dead with numbers painted, carved, or burned into their flesh. If that weren’t enough, Nearly also has the uncanny ability to know what a person’s feeling just by touching them. An ability she recoils from every time it happens.
Emotion is energy, and if energy is strong enough, it can travel between two points.
The mystery of whodunit holds out until nearly (pun intended) the last page with red herrings and surprises along the way. Nearly doesn’t know who she can trust, as her friends, enemies, and fellow classmates are all suspects—until they die—so like any good detective, I had to rely on my knowledge of “motive, opportunity, and means” to solve the mystery. The clues add up for the police and point them in Nearly’s direction. She overhears one officer telling one of her classmates to spy on her in exchange for a more lenient sentence. Reece Wheelen’s the perfect suspect: trouble with the law, a dark past, and involvement with the local drug dealer.
Throughout the book I tried to figure out why the cover title has a “43” in it. The reason is awesome and ties into both Nearly as a character and the book’s plot. I don’t want to say too much more, or I risk spoiling you. If you like mysteries, fast-paced books, a touch of magical realism, and a smart heroine, this book’s for you!