17 & Gone
By Nova Ren Suma
My Rating: 4 / 5
I read and enjoyed Nova Ren Suma’s previous book, Imaginary Girls, and as soon as I heard about this book, I knew I wanted to read it. Spoiler alert – I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but feel like it’s hard to talk too much about this book otherwise, so you’ve been warned!
Here is the Goodreads summary:
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.
I feel like I have been waiting to get this from the library for such a long time, even though it just came out in March.
Our protagonist, Lauren, begins having visions of Abby Sinclair, a 17 year old girl who went missing. Soon Lauren begins to see even more girls – all of whom went missing at the age of 17. She begins to have nightmares, and begins to feel that she has to know what happened, and to save these girls.
The first thing I want to say about this book is that I love the writing. This came as no surprise, after Imaginary Girls, which as also beautifully written. Both books had a dream-like, almost ethereal quality to them that I loved.
There are a lot of elements at work in this book: it’s part supernatural/paranormal, part psychological thriller, part mystery. But it all works, and I read the book in one day because I just had to know what happened.
Lauren is an unreliable narrator, which can be confusing or disorienting at times, but it was so effective. Lauren is dealing with a lot in this book, and without spoiling anything (I hope), the way it all came together made me feel for her. In her own mind, Lauren was fighting for these girls, to find out what happened to them. I kept getting the message that these girls, these missing girls, whether they ran away or were taken away, were important and worth looking for. They should not be forgotten. That’s how Lauren felt, and that’s how I felt.
Even at the end of the book, I was not quite sure what was real and what was not real, and I love that the author doesn’t quite call it one way or the other. There is a lot to take in, and I was so captivated by this book.
This was a great book, and I definitely recommend it. Now that I’ve read two of her novels, I can safely say that I will be reading whatever Nova Ren Suma writes next.