Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

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17 & Gone
Nova Ren Suma
Publication date: March 21st 2013
by 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.

-A copy was provided by Penguin Canada for review-
Girls go missing every day. Teenage girls run away, some get kidnapped, or worse. Lauren is acknowledging this first hand when she starts seeing ghosts, or visions, of missing 17 year old girls. A psychological thriller, or is it a paranormal? You’ll have to read and see! 😉

Lauren, being taken over by these visions, is unable to think of anything else but these victims, because as much as the law, and even sometimes the parents, insist they were runaways, she knows they aren’t. Wanting to help these girls becomes priority, pushing her boyfriend away in the process. Lauren is an intriguing protagonist. She’s very smart, analytical, but seeing these girls is becoming an obsession, with finding out the truth. I liked the psychological side of her character, it’s well developed and knows how to immerse its readers, I did wish a bit more of her personality was made clear. I still don’t really know who Lauren is, as a person, as a friend, a girlfriend; what kind of person was she before all of this? How much has this affected her life? As a character study, however, this really works well for the type of story this novel becomes at the end. I can’t go more in depth without any spoilers unfortunately, but while on one hand its hard to emotionally connect with Lauren, this story works perfectly with the out-of-reach character that we get in her. Through Lauren, we also get the missing girls’ stories where we see the circumstances behind their disappearances, showing us exactly how easily this happens, and how often. Some of these stories are mere paragraphs, others pages, and a couple span the whole novel, leaving us with a deep sense of mourning. It shines a new light on what is often mislabeled as a runaway, but is really a tragedy.

What started with one girl turns into a half dozen of them that appear to Lauren, some talk to her, some give her signs to help her along in the process, some are more persistent, almost menacing. I loved the way this story is told, particularly how it unfolds; we get dissociated from the real world and dropped into this girl’s life where nothing appears definite, nothing even truly makes any sort of sense for a while. You have to simply go through the motions and juggle with what you’re given to try to figure out what is happening to Lauren. All the while you’re immersed into a mystery that convinces you, even makes you hope, that it’s all real, that she just might be able to do something about these missing girls. It likes to play with your mind. It’s compelling because it’s vague, if that makes any sense. It also encloses a great range of emotion, especially loss to desolation. No matter if you are hoping for a psychological thriller or a ghost story, I’m convinced you’ll enjoy it!

17 & Gone is an artistically crafted novel; powerful, intensely atmospheric, and will leave you thinking about it for days. I want to say more but, alas, I cannot without spoilers, thus I shall leave it at that!

4 Hot Espressos


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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29 Responses to “Review: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma”

  1. Jenn Renee

    Sounds very exciting. I have had this one on my list for a while. I loved Imaginary Girls and thinking I will love this one too. I love the books that leave that lingering feeling long after you are done. Great review.

  2. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Lauren sounds like a fantastic character! I can’t imagine *knowing* that something was that wrong and having no one listen to me. Especially when she has the visions and everything to go with it. “Atmospheric” — a great way to describe a mystery filled with visions and murders.

  3. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Weeee! I’m so happy that you liked this a lot. I freaking love Nova Ren Suma, her writing is pretty haunting and in both of her books I felt like I was lost and trying to find my way out. I loved where the story went, you know the part that we can’t talk about *wink wink* and I think that part of the story was handled really really well. Even the ending, that last scene on the bed? Yeah, freaking loved it!

  4. Nick

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this book. It seems that it really worked well for you. I’m definitely going to check it out now that you’ve raved about it. Lauren sounds like an intriguing and very complex character. I think I would have liked to know what kind of person she was before she started getting obsessed with the ghosts of the girls too. Still, this sounds like a fantastic book.
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  5. Amy

    This book sounds really awesome!! This is definitely a book that I am going to have to read. I just know I will love it!! You know how I love books that are psychological!! Fab review babe!

  6. Molli Moran

    Ooh, this sounds so intense and mysterious! I wasn’t very excited about it before, but this is a nice review that makes me re-consider and think maybe I DO need to read it! Great review, Giselle! You’ve definitely whet my appetite for this one.

  7. Bailey

    I’ve been excited for this one for a while so I’m glad to see that it got a good rating from you! Makes me even more excited!! Great review! 😀

  8. Alexa Y.

    I’m looking forward to checking this one out! I haven’t read Nova’s other book yet, but this one sounds very, very intriguing. I’m curious about the mystery of the missing girls.

  9. Shooting Stars Mag

    I do really want to read this one, so I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it. It sounds like such an intriguing and heartbreaking novel. I love that you get various information about these girls, from just a little to a lot. Kind of a unique approach!

  10. Jesse Burgoyne

    I’ve heard her first book was amazing, but I never read it. This one sounds great. I love how you get to see all of the different stories. It sounds really intense. The cover totally caught my eye, but your review dragged me in. Definitely going to have to check this one out!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

  11. Annabelle Marie Veronica

    Ah, I loved this one! The best part was how you couldn’t figure out if it was a thriller or a paranormal until the end. Nova Ren Suma’s books are an absolute art and this one was no different. I too loved the character study and all the going through all the details to figure out what was really going on. It’s a masterpiece, that’s for sure! I’m so happy you loved it too! Awesome review, muffin.

  12. Megan K.

    Sounds a little bit like PRETTY GIRL-13: mystery/thriller with a hint of paranormal, though readers aren’t actually sure whether the paranormal is real or not. Anyhoo, 17 & GONE sounds like a novel I’d enjoy! (Especially the little bit about ‘leave you thinking about it for days’ part.)

  13. Lauren

    So happy you enjoyed this one! I’ve been looking forward to reading this, and your review makes me even more anxious to get started. It sounds so creepy and atmospheric, and Lauren sounds like a fascinating character. I love psychological stories that play with your mind a little bit. Can’t wait to find out what’s behind Lauren’s visions. Wonderful review! 🙂

  14. Renae M.

    Lately, I’ve really found that the mixture of thriller and paranormal is FANTASTIC. (Especially since sometimes you don’t know if the paranormal aspects are all in the protagonist’s head or not). Suma’s debut, Imaginary Girls, really impressed me with its strong prose and unique plot, and from the way you put it, I’m thinking this book will be similarly fascinating!

  15. Cindy

    Sounds really exciting, really intense, and like something I would really enjoy. I definitely want to check this out and find out more about Lauren and these girls that “speak” to her. I am glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for putting it on my radar. Great review 🙂