Title: 17 & Gone
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Pub info: Dutton Juvenile, 2013; 354 pp
Genre: YA thriller/paranormal
There's nothing more interesting than following an author from her debut novel through her career and watching her take off. As soon as I read Nova's first book, Dani Noir, I knew I'd found a keeper. Her third book, 17 & Gone, did not disappoint.
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.Status: finished 4/10/14
With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.
This is a tough book to review without giving away too much. Suffice it to say that Lauren's journey of getting to know--and obsess over--the many lost girls she discovers is complex and utterly believable. A thread that runs through Nova Ren Suma's books is an exquisite balance between what is known and what is unknown; the real world and the world just beyond. A strong theme in this book is that 17-year-old girls are all too often left to chance. It seems harsh, even unrealistic, to ask, Who cares about another 17-year-old runaway? And yet it's a fair question. When a 10-year-old goes missing, a neighborhood mobilizes. But a 17-year-old is on the cusp of adulthood, and if she runs away, well, maybe there's a good reason. Suma doesn't want us to leave these girls by the roadside. They matter, and Lauren matters. You'll read this book and come to know Lauren intimately, and what she cares about, you'll care about. It's a fascinating journey we take with her.
Dani Noir (Aladdin, 2009), reissued as Fade Out for a YA audience (Simon Pulse, 2012).Her YA novels Imaginary Girls (Penguin/Dutton, 2011) and 17 & Gone were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. She also wrote the middle-grade novel
Nova's next book, The Walls Around Us, is due out in spring 2015 from Algonquin YR. Like a few other authors on my TBR 2014 list, she is a contributor to the YA horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, coming from Dial/Penguin in fall 2015.
Check out Nova's distraction no. 99, which is one of the best writer blogs out there. Her news and events can be found here, on her website. You can chat with her here on Twitter, and watch a video interview with Nova right here.
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To follow my progress as I bulldoze my way through a stack of 51 to-be-reads this year, search for the tag 2014 TBR Shelf. Read all the reviews here.