Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

Title: 17 & Gone
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release date: March 21st 2013
Pages: 354
Genre: Young Adult mystery
Source: Bought a signed copy at Books of Wonder!
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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.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is a really hard book to review without spoiling anything. 17 & Gone's strength is the way it blurs the lines between reality and, well, something else, which is really hard to talk about without giving anything away. So if you don't get what I'm saying in the rest of my review because I'm going to have to be vague and confusing, just know that this is an amazing book, and I loved it.

Weird is really the only way to describe this novel. It's unlike anything I've read before - you can't even classify it without spoiling anything because you don't know whether this is a psychological thriller or a ghost story or something else until the end, and even now I'm not sure any classification is 100% right. You don't really understand what's going on until the end, but it works - this book is creepy and weird in the best way possible.

What makes 17 & Gone work is Nova Ren Suma's amazing writing. In her debut, Imaginary Girls, she impressed me with her way with words, and it's just as good in her sophomore novel. She has this vivid, atmospheric style that works really well with creepy stories like these; she can create an eerie, almost scary mood with just a few words.

The only thing I found lacking was Lauren's character. The psychological aspect is well-done; the way she reacts to the ghosts or voices or whatever they are is relatable and fascinating to read about. But I also wanted to know Lauren just as Lauren - who was she before all of this weird stuff started happening to her? I wanted to know more about her regular personality and life. We know her mom and her boyfriend, and her best friend is mentioned I think once, but we never really got to know them, or Lauren in relation to them. I wanted to know how Lauren acted before, both by herself and in relation to other people, and I wish that had been explored some more.

That's my only complaint, though; everything else about this book is perfect. 17 & Gone is a captivating read, blurring the lines between reality, hallucinations, and the supernatural in a most compelling way. Nova Ren Suma has impressed me again with her luscious, atmospheric, eerie writing and unique and creepy stories. I can't wait for another one of her books!


  1. I have heard good things about this book, especially the writing style.

    Kate @ Ex Libris


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