Tuesday Reads: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

9780803739260_NearlyGone_CAT.inddThere are a lot of books that I end up buying because multiple people on my Twitter feed start talking about how much they loved it. I’ll usually do a quick summary check to see if it’s something I’d even be into, but if it’s the right people being passionate enough, I almost always buy the book. I’ve yet to regret doing this.

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano was one of those books and holy crap I’m glad I bought it.

This is a book about a girl living in near-poverty, working towards a brighter future. This is a book about a girl who is brilliant in science and math, and who uses her intelligence to try and save her friends and herself from a mysterious killer.

Back in middle school, we’d had a writing lesson about eliminating unnecessary adverbs, and the class had latched onto my name: Nearly Boswell. I became an adverb. Expendable.

Nearly has been largely invisible at school, noticed and connected to only a couple close friends. Her grades were her life. She was always working towards college, and towards scholarships to pay for that college. Her one big indulgence was buying the paper every day to look at the Missed Connections, trying to find a hint of the father that left years before.

But maybe she’s not as invisible and expendable as she thought. Someone starts sending her messages through the personals. And the people start dying, and it becomes more and more obvious that not only is Nearly connected – she’s being framed. Nearly’s attempts to solve the crimes and save her classmates only take her deeper into the plot and put her in more danger.

There is a romance plot here, too, but it doesn’t take over – something I seriously appreciate (I’m going to be blogging about romance overpowering plot in YA sometime soon). There’s a scene I’m still unsure about – where our love interest kisses Nearly without her permission or consent – but she defends herself pretty awesomely. Just haven’t decided how that scene colors the rest of their romance for me.

The murder mystery plot is fast-paced and smart. It will keep you guessing and you probably won’t be able to put the book down until you find out who’s behind it all.

Medium: Kindle
Stars: 5/5

Tuesday Reads: Up Jumps the Devil by Michael Poore

You know those books where you want to quote it every other page? Maybe tweet a few sentences or put it in a Facebook status just so the entire world can see it and maybe share your excitement over the words?

Up Jumps the Devil, Michael Poore‘s first novel, was one of those books for me.

And when he played the guitar it was like strangling Creation because no one ever, EVER had the blues like the Devil had the blues, and even if they thought they had the blues anywhere near as bad, when the Devil finally burned to a stop, covered in sweat and tears and Spanish moss, they were way too scared to say so.

I’up jumpsm a huge sucker for stories about the Devil. I want to see him as more than just horns and hellfire. Michael Poore’s Devil is a complex, funny, sweet, horrifying rebel angel and the world’s first broken heart. He wants mankind to be good and make Earth great so that his true love will come back from Heaven. His methods aren’t always nice. He can show mercy and he can be wrathful. He whispers into the ears of history’s great revolutionaries. He drives around in the JFK death limo and makes deals at crossroads.

Up Jumps the Devil is his story. It jumps through time, from before the Earth existed to Egypt to Rome to colonial America to the 70s and right up into 2005. That’s the range, but it’s not chronological. The book also isn’t told entirely from the Devil’s point of view – we get loads of others in the mix, characters that are joyfully, painfully human and have the Devil in their lives. This organization could have been a mess and lost the reader, but I followed it with ease.

This is the kind of book that you’re going to read and immediately throw at all of your friends, begging them to read it so that they can understand why cows make you laugh and why you’d happily go to hell if you could spend your time in the company of Poore’s Devil.

Medium: paperback

Stars: 4.5/5