17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
Release Date: March 21st, 2013
Number of Pages: 354
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.
With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.
When I read Invisible Girls by Nova Ren Suma, I wasn’t the biggest fan. With her newest book, she did manage to charm me to a certain extend, but she didn’t wow me. If there is one thing I really loved about this book, it is the creepy atmosphere. I did enjoy the psychological side of the story, and I did enjoy the writing, but I did not love this book. 17 & Gone is a character-driven novel, and this may be part of why I didn’t love this novel. I simply had trouble loving her story as much as I wished I could.
Lauren is a 17-years-old, who suddenly starts to be haunted by the ghosts of 17-years-old missing girls. The thing is, her story is also laced by the stories of all the missing girls, and this leaves us with only some superficial knowledge of who Lauren really is. She is so obsessed with the girls that we don’t learn that much about who she really is. We do get some knowledge of who she was through the few peeks we get into her past, her life before her visions. I did like learning to know about all those girls, but I needed to know more about the main character. At the same time, it was heartbreaking to see Lauren lose herself because of her visions and her obsession. She loses herself, she loses her boyfriend Jamie, and she loses her relationship with her mother to a certain extant. There is one of the missing girls we do get to learn a lot about, Fiona, and I found myself really enjoying learning about her. Lauren knew Fiona before she went missing. She was a really interesting character, and I found myself wishing I could get to know more about her.
Overall, 17 & Gone was a great read. It won’t make it to my favorites list, but I did enjoy it. Those who enjoyed Invisible Girls will likely enjoy this book, as those two books do share many qualities. The writing and the atmosphere were two of this novel’s greatest strength.
About the Author:
Nova grew up in small towns across the Hudson Valley and can currently be found in New York City and online at her blog distraction no. 99.
Nova Ren Suma has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College, and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Corporation of Yaddo, and, twice, from the MacDowell Colony. She has published short stories for adults in literary journals including Gulf Coast, LIT, Small Spiral Notebook, and more, and is the author of the tween novel Dani Noir (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, 2009).