Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Nearly Girl” as Want to Read:
The Nearly Girl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Nearly Girl

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Fans of "A Prayer for Owen Meany" and "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" will love this clever, fast-paced and enjoyable thriller.

Like a modern-day Joan of Arc, Amelia Fisher attempts to carve out a 'normal life', showing us how mythic the idea of 'normal' really is.

With a poetic genius for a father, an obsessed body builder for a mother, and an enchantingly eccentric gro
Paperback, 300 pages
Published August 30th 2016 by Inanna Publications & Education
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Nearly Girl, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Nearly Girl

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  61 ratings  ·  24 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Nearly Girl
A.B. Funkhauser
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing

The Nearly Girl by Lisa de Nikolits is one of those gems that defies genre categories. It is not a romance. It is not a thriller. But it is a journey and often a humorous one. Young Amelia is talented, complicated, twisted and kind, and she has her parents and grandparents to thank. Her father, a wealthy misanthropic poet, enjoys national acclaim but cannot endure the bonds of traditional family life. Similarly, Amelia’s mom, who pursues her physica
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
This is a very disjointed book. I did enjoy the descriptions of Megan and Henry, but I didn’t understand the beginning and the end with the woman who introduced her knowledge of the nearly girl. We never heard anything about her relationship with the Amelia. I couldn’t understand the point of that. And then the book really took a weird turn and seem to be more about the strange doctor and not very much about the nearly girl. Also, it became quite implausible. I was on a road trip so kept listeni ...more
Tehmina Khan
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Nearly Girl is fast-paced, funny, and full of quirky characters. I don't remember the last time a book had me laughing out loud the way this one did. Thank you, Lisa de Nikolits, for this brilliant read. ...more
Lynda Dickson
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-adult
When Megan meets Henry, it's love at first sight. But love isn't always perfect. Henry is a poet who uses LSD, he's slightly unhinged, eccentric, and mentally unstable. Megan's parents Ethel and Ed are very supportive, especially when she gets pregnant. But when her daughter Amelia starts behaving like Henry from an early age, Megan withdraws and becomes obsessed with body building. They call Amelia the "Nearly Girl" because she nearly gets things right but can also get them so wrong. Fast forwa ...more
James Fisher
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
South African-born writer Lisa de Nikolits' most recent book was the critically-acclaimed Between the Cracks She Fell (2015, Inanna). Canadian Living said regarding it: "This latest book from [Lisa] is a true exploration of the human spirit. Anyone who has ever felt like they've slipped through the cracks or been lost in life can relate to this captivating story." Now Inanna has released Ms de Nikolits newest novel The Nearly Girl, and it too is a captivating story about loveable, quirky charact ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
What an odd book this is
It felt like it was a bunch of stories all thrown together

I loved the first section about Meg and Henry - i thought it well constructed and the characters both interesting and completely believable. I was fascinated and eager to read what came next for this weird couple and their little girl

And then something very odd happened. I felt like I was in a lecture that some stoned maniac had hijacked. and not in a good way.
The characters got thin and ridiculous. The plot crashe
Rosemary McCracken
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another delightful romp by talented Lisa de Nikolits. With a tortured poet for a father, a body builder for a mother and a dysfunctional psychiatrist for a therapist, what could possibly go wrong for The Nearly Girl's Amelia Fisher? This fast-paced thriller explores the consequences of deviating from the norm with strong female characters and a big helping of humour. Scenes with therapist Dr. Frances Carroll are nothing short of hilarious. De Nikolits is a master at creating quirky characters an ...more
Heather Babcock
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Nearly Girl is completely mesmerizing!
Lisa de Nikolits’ tale of family dysFUNction is chock full of comedy, drama and page turning suspense. Anyone who has ever felt alienated by the unwritten rules and norms of society will find a kindred spirit in Amelia, the “Nearly Girl” daughter of a female bodybuilder and a tortured poet, who believes that rainy days are just perfect for picnics on the beach and who fears that getting on the right bus will lead her to a dead end. Told with warmth, humo
Jerri Jerreat
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is definitely a quirky book, and I really enjoyed it. The first, short, part is about the parents, when young. Interesting, but it becomes fast paced and mysterious in the second part. “Amelia Goes to Therapy” could be the title of this section. The characters are well drawn, eccentric, even lovable. Well, not all are lovable... I finished the book, then opened it up again the next day and began to read it aloud to my husband. I knew he’d love it, and we laughed together often.
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I really really loved this book! This review is ridiculously long! But, rule of thumb - The longer the review the more I liked the book. I just love the language in here! It's so quirky and original. This is the second book I have read by Lisa and I guess her writing style clicks with me. The first one was - The Witchdoctor's Bones.

This is really two books that could have been separated and done as a series. The first half is about Henry and Megan (the parents of "the nearly girl") - Ohhh
Cynthia Greene
Sep 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
This is the worst book I've ever read. The writing is atrocious and the characters speak/act in ridiculous ways. The audiobook dictation wasn't the problem (although it's not great either) but whoever edited this book should be fired. These characters are supposed to be American but most of the language used sounds British (or European). It was beyond just an occasional odd word, it was nonstop and formal sounding. I wish i had never wasted time on this turd and unless you're a pre-teen with bad ...more
Jo Fetsco
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Amelia Fisher tries to make her life “normal”, but not “boring”, after growing up with a body-building, orange (from tanning) mother and a psychotic, an often absent father who is a world-renowned poet due to the voices that he hears in his head, and a “normal” grandmother who raised and home-schooled her. She joins an eccentric group to seek help from an unorthodox professor/psychiatrist, the “inventor” of DTOT (Do the opposite thing!) and becomes embroiled in her crazed doctor’s secret life, t ...more
Terri Favro
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Nearly Girl is a character-driven roller coaster of a novel that asks the question, "What is normal?" or possibly, "Should we even try to be normal?" Funny, touching, sometimes heartbreaking, with a generous number of plot twists and turns, and a totally unexpected ending (at least, I didn't see it coming), the true heart of the novel is its unique cast of characters -- in particular, Henry Berlin, an 'eccentric' poet whose family relationships drive the story relentlessly forward. I think t ...more
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Yowza! Packed with quirky characters and spun with dexterity! Great read!
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
A strange novel.
Not boring or irritating although not so entertaining.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the most unusual novel I have read in ages. It has quirky characters, unbelievable group therapy sessions, drugged zombies, and a disjointed plot. Yet I found the novel compelling reading.

Megan meets Henry at a poetry reading. He is very, very odd yet she finds herself captivated by him. He is drawn to her and soon they are a couple in a dysfunctional sort of way. When she forgets to take her birth control pills, Megan becomes pregnant. After a stormy time of relationship, Amelia is born
Brenda Clews
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Nearly Girl, by Lisa de Nikolits, is a good read. What a deconstruction of 'the therapist.' I agree with her about many members of the profession and am glad to see a character like this displayed with such fierce satire. Henry and Amelia, father and daughter, as lithesome and poignant characters who could float into the sky holding balloons, are simply beautiful - they are practically poetry in their formation, descriptions, actions and foibles. Ethel and Megan, the two mothers, are great f ...more
Gina Buonaguro
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Nearly Girl by Lisa de Nikolits is a clever, fast-paced, and enjoyable read with a cast of quirky characters. They range from Henry the supremely creative poet to his estranged body-building wife and her reliable and loving mother, from the not-quite-right psychiatrist Dr. Carroll, who applies his unorthodox cognitive behavioural therapy research called DTOT (do the opposite thing) to the lovable misfits who populate his required class. And then there’s Amelia, Henry’s daughter in so many wa ...more
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A playful exploration of human oddities, de Nikolits's latest book asks: What are the consequences when we deviate from the norm? Centred around Amelia, a young woman who only nearly gets things right in life—she catches the wrong bus or shows up on the wrong day—The Nearly Girl features a cast of misfits who are all engaged in various forms of self-improvement. With her mother trying endlessly to improve her body and her tortured genius poet father always awaiting the voice of brilliance to spe ...more
Mark Sunflower
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Thompson
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
In her latest novel, the The Nearly Girl, Lisa de Nikolits takes us deep into the complex workings of an extraordinary mind. Amelia Fisher, the protagonist of de Nikolits’s latest offering, reminds readers of the importance of passion and adventure in a world that wishes to keep our wilder urges contained. Like a modern-day Joan of Arc, Fisher’s attempts to carve out a ‘normal life’, take her to the fringes of social acceptability – showing us how mythic the idea of ‘normal’ really is. Through a ...more
Mandy Eve-Barnett
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fast-paced and illuminating story where endeavouring to conform to society's perception of normal, exposes the masks of illusion. Amelia Fisher's unconventional upbringing with an LSD addicted poet father and an emotionally distance body building mother leads her to attending sessions with a crazy doctor. Whose unorthodox method called D.T.O.T. – “Do the Opposite Thing” has significant repercussions on his patients including Amelia. A chance discovery propels Amelia and fellow attendee, Mike w ...more
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
While the "Nearly Girl" theoretically may be the book's protagonist, almost pushed from the spotlight by her famous, largely more unusual father, from whom, presumably, she inherited her "nearly" tendencies, the story gets rocking when we sit in on group therapy. Those "nutty" characters attract the readers' attention and you want to know if therapy does them any good. You'll have to decide for yourself.
What a twist near the end!!
Madness, genius and brilliance are hard to distinguish.

I did rece
Janie Hickok Siess
rated it liked it
Dec 09, 2016
Tina Poole
rated it it was amazing
Jul 11, 2019
tea frost
rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2022
Jastinder Toor
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
do the opposite
Philana Memraj
rated it liked it
Jun 27, 2017
rated it liked it
Feb 21, 2021
rated it it was ok
Jan 10, 2017
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Albatross
  • The Homewreckers
  • The Lighthouse Witches
  • The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships
  • Girl A
  • What You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw
  • The Breakdown
  • Hero at Large
  • The Casual Vacancy
  • Who Is Vera Kelly?
  • The Recovery Agent (Gabriela Rose, #1)
  • The Dilemma
  • You Won't Always Be This Sad
  • Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead
  • Doctor Who: Crime at the Cinema
  • Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
  • The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories
  • Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre
See similar books…
Lisa de Nikolits is the author of ten novels:

10. The Rage Room: “In her latest captivating book, Lisa de Nikolits proffers not only a roller coaster of entertainment, but also, sharp political commentary in complicated times. The Rage Room is an intricately woven dystopian world, rich in strong female characters who easily whisk readers to a world of futuristic follies. Move over George Orwell—De

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
33 likes · 8 comments