17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma.
Release Date: March 21, 2013.
Published by Dutton Juvenile.
Source: Borrowed from Kathy at A Glass of Wine.
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.
Holy. Smokes. Nova Ren Suma is a genius. This novel was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. I could not put it down. It played with my mind in a way I absolutely loved. I think this is going to be a hard review to write simply because I cannot express my love for and amazement at this work in words. Please bear with me while I try.
The story was fantastic. It was twisted and insane but for all the right reasons. It was completely entrancing. Just as Lauren gets pulled into Abby (the first of the missing girls, and the most important to the story)'s memories, so did I. I followed Lauren every step of the way, seeing just what she saw only to have to pulled out from under our feet. It was so clear that something was wrong, but I felt locked into Lauren's mind, viewing everything from her perspective. It was mesmerizing and really helped pull me into the story. Come the end, when the "shocking truth emerges," it all fell into place. The ending was not something I would have called early on, but looking back, I see it. Once I was no longer stuck seeing through Lauren's eyes, I understand so much more. What amazed me about this novel is how both being in Lauren's mind and being outside of it helped me truly understand her as a person.
I just want to add in here a little note I made while I was reading the novel: I respect Ms. Suma immensely. She makes a point in the story about women being taken away no matter what they are wearing when it happens. I thought this was a very important point, even though it is only maybe two sentences in the entire novel. Not only just that she says it, but she makes the point it so well. She doesn't shove it in your face, she simply states it calmly and moves on. It was perfect and I felt it not only fit in with the story, but is an important, if subtlety made statement.
Anyway, I have one more thing to compliment Ms. Suma on: her incredible writing. Honestly, I got two chapters in and was already blown away. Her writing had me right from the beginning. She is poetic and original and it is absolutely beautiful. She describes shadows and shimmering outlines; she brings you right inside Lauren's mind and plays with it in front of you, and she does it all without loss of style. It is a haunting novel and I loved every minute of it.
Nova Ren Suma has done an amazing thing with this novel. She has combined stirring language, mind games and illusions, and many very lost girls to give us Lauren's story. I think it is one you will not soon forget.
Without a doubt, 5 stars.