|Let's break out of these tropes, please|
We're given Nearly Boswell, who is mired in reality. Her father abandoned her as an infant. Her mother strips at a local gentleman's club to make ends (barely) meet. Her best friend is the wealthy son of Nearly's landlord, abused by his father and suffering from depression. Her other best friend is the daughter of first generation immigrants and equally as determined to win the chemistry scholarship Nearly believes to be her ticket out of the trailer park. Nearly's got frizzy hair, too-big clothes, and a name she hates. If that wasn't enough material for a plot, Nearly also has the ability to "taste" people's emotions through touch and is the target of a serial killer.
Other than Vince, the school bully, everyone seems to like Nearly (despite her claims that she's a loner and an outcast). Despite her tendency to be a bit judgy and rush blindly into dangerous situations that are clearly setups, I can't help but like her pluckiness. She's smart and proud of it. She doesn't back down from a challenge, she speaks her mind, she faces the assholes at her school head on, and she leaps on top of a drug dealer's car with a baseball bat, threatening to "destroy his fucking car" in defense of a friend. That's pretty bad ass (maybe also kind of foolhardy and reckless, but hey, at least she's got gumption).
|Personal favorite moment of the book|
Though unlike Tina Fey, Nearly gets what she wants
before she has to start swinging
|Always trust the Genie.|
I didn't really understand the point of Nearly being an empath. I don't think it added much to the story other than to give her and the reader a clear reason whether to trust or be wary of others. It didn't help her to solve the mystery. If anything, I was surprised that more people didn't take her fear of touching and being touched as a sign of potential abuse or trauma. Or germophobia. We never understood why or how she had this ability. I think it would have been a stronger story without that paranormal detail.
|Maybe she suffers from mysophobia?|
The Plot Thickens Badge
The Fantasy Makeover Badge