Title: 17 & Gone
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: March 21st 2013
Source: Borrowed ARC (Thank you, Kathy!)
My Rating: 5/5
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.
Okay, let's just start with the obvious. Look at this cover. I mean, um, how many shades of awesome is it? It absolutely fits the book perfectly. I love that they incorporated the missing posters used in the book, as well as the shadowy girl and the decrepit house. It's the perfect cover to clutch the pages of this dark tale.
I was grabbed from the get-go with that absolutely gorgeous prologue. It was so well done, so captivating and such a perfect opening to this novel. Nova Ren Suma has a serious talent for writing and I couldn't help but be awed by it throughout the novel. The detailed description, the foreboding atmosphere, and the powerful characters had me amazed. The writing was just insanely gorgeous and brilliantly excecuted. It made the novel that much more impacting.
I could feel this slow tug pulling me through the story, almost like the girls were urging me to stick with it, that I would find out soon enough. Because that was the only thing that bugged me about this book: I didn't know what was going on. And that's exactly the point. Lauren isn't sure what's happening either. All she knows is that these girls are 17, they're gone, they need her help, and that it's very possible she could be next. I was driving myself bonkers trying to figure out what was happening. I just had to know and know as soon as humanly possible. I also kept having this little squeeze in my chest while reading. I knew this book could be fantastic, and I really truly wanted it to be. I had been looking forward to reading it for a long time and I was hoping I didn't hype it up too much in my head. And once everything came to light I knew this book had solidified a place on my "awesome sauce reads" list. And okay, I had an inkling to where this book was going. I really hoped I was right because I thought it would just be such a fantastic idea. And although I guessed it right, it was executed more beautifully than I could have imagined. More stunning, more gut-wrenching, and more gorgeous then I could have imagined. Nova Ren Suma hit it out of the park.
One of the most brilliant and powerful components of this book is one I'm going to have to dance around. Why? Well, it would be a spoiler and we all know I hate those! I will say though that Nova Ren Suma effortlessly weaves a stunning story and explores how young girls become lost in every way possible. We slowly watch her main character Lauren descend a dangerous and broken path walked by countless girls before her. And it's honestly moving. I could see the cracks in Lauren from the start, and it was heart-wrenching seeing them spread. I felt completely connected to the story but also like I was looking through a window. I could see what was happening, but all I could do was bang on the window, shout, and never be heard. It was hard to watch Lauren walk down the path she was on. It was an absolutely stunning story though, and Lauren, quiet, docile Lauren was such an impacting narrator.
On another note: this book utterly terrified me. I mean seriously, Lauren is followed around by ghosts! And not always happy ghosts but disturbed, angry, and forceful ghosts. It haunted me long after I'd turned the last page. I found myself staying up late, looking over my shoulder, fearing I would find one of these ghostly girls waiting for me in the shadows. Nova Ren Suma created such a spooky atmosphere that seemed to transcend the page. Besides being scared, I also felt myself overwhelmed at points. There was so much reality in this book, so much terrible truth it was hard to handle. The sheer amount of young girls that go missing, that are never found is staggering. I'm one of those people who constantly strives for reason, for logic, and to know that there's a why out there that will never be found is hard to deal with.
With all I've said though, it boils down to the simple truth that this is a fantastic book. I know it's not going to be a book everyone loves, but if you let it, 17 & Gone will affect you. It will be a story you won't forget. And Nova Ren Suma will be an author you constantly watch out for.
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)
Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Nova Ren Suma's Website