The characters were great. Nearly, who goes by Leigh, is a complicated girl with a lot of issues. I respect girls with issues, and I really respect Leigh. Once she meets Reece Whelan, the hottie badass who may or may not be trying to put her in jail for murder, it was over. I was hooked. That boy is so complex, multifaceted, and endearing. He is a boy with issues, and he deals with those issues in so many good ways. Not only that, he falls for Leigh really fast. Then he does everything he can to protect her. I really liked that about this book. Leigh is a tough girl who can stand up for herself. Despite that, there is so much crazy dangerous stuff going down she still needs a bad boy to keep her safe!
The mystery-thriller plot is really well done. Fans of murder mysteries, TV shows like Bones, NCIS, Dexter, and CSI will definitely love this story. I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end! The author will keep you guessing, keep you turning those pages, and you'll love every minute of it.
Some readers might not like the paranormal aspect - Leigh's "tasting" feelings/thoughts/emotions. I thought it was well done and added something different to the story. A weird paranormal spice thrown over the murder mystery. Maybe not your cup of tea, but I think it might actually bring in a lot of readers who wouldn't normally pick up a thriller.
I did have one little issue with the plot. Leigh didn't seem to feel much remorse or guilt for her classmates' deaths. There could be a lot of reasons for this, but I still think the story would have benefited from Leigh showing some more guilt once the victims' identities are made perfectly clear. I won't say why, because I don't want to spoil anything, but still - it had to be noted that the girl doesn't really seem to feel bad about it. Just a little bit strange.
Overall, NEARLY GONE is a well-written murder mystery with great characters and a lot of intensity. If you're looking for a new paranormal romance, a page-turning mystery, or a book about hard life issues, this is the book for you.