Review of 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma

Need a change of pace from the YA books I usually review? Then here's a review of a suspense novel called 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma.

Before I delve into my thoughts, what's this book all about? Well, read on, readers, read on. I'm about to reveal the cover art and synopsis for this March 21, 2013 release.


 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.


Sound good? Well, before you rush out and pre-order, let me tell you my thoughts.

I'd give this novel three stars out of five. Why? Though Suma's writing is elegant, I felt she spends too much time on minute details instead of moving the story along, and though I believe she uses repetitive sentence structure as an art form, I found it vaguely drum-like. I also didn't particularly like or identify with the main character, but maybe that's because I haven't been 17 in a long while. Either way, I needed interaction with other characters to break the monotony of the first person narrative, and I didn't get that. 

There were also a few lines I found disturbing, like, "Besides, I could sense him thinking, what was she? She was only a 17-year-old girl. And 17-year-old girls vanish all the time." 

Or this long paragraph: "Having a mother wouldn't stop it [a girl from running away/being taken], and not having a mother wouldn't make a girl go. Staying home every day or going out every night. Taking drugs or not taking them. Talking to strangers or talking to nobody. (skipping some here) If a girl was meant to go, she just did."  

Personally, I don't buy the first line, and as for the second paragraph, in my opinion, it's simply not true.

*SPOILER ALERT* Perhaps the main character believes these things because she turns out to be schizophrenic. Either way, I don't think it's a good message to be sending youth--you DO make decisions that will impact the rest of your life. Period. 

But I'm sure many others loved the main character's spiral into darkness, her brushes with suicide, her dance with madness, and ghosts that turn out to be nothing but spiders in the mind. If that's the kind of read you're looking for, then Suma's book is the one for you.

All in all, this definitely hasn't been my favorite read of the year, and I'm looking forward to moving on to the next one.  

I'll be reviewing FEARLESS by Cornelia Funke, a Mirrorworld novel, so stay turned to for next Wednesday's post, which will be a review of this book. 

Till next time!

(As always, if you want to put in a request for a book review, please do!)


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