Review Detail

 
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

Flawless mystery novel

There are some novels where everything comes together, the stars align, and you get butterflies in your stomach within a chapter, and by the end…well, by the end you’re halfway to Vegas for a drive-in wedding and honeymoon in the casinos. For me, 17 & Gone was exactly like that. It’s a book I loved for the entirety of the story, that never let me down, and is so worth taking the time to read. I enjoyed this about 20 times more than Imaginary Girls (which, by the way, I liked a lot).

Though 17 & Gone is a departure from the magical realism that defined Suma’s sophomore novel, one thing that’s still very present—and improved on—was this author’s prose. I mean, just…wow. Even though I consider characterization to be the #1 most important thing for me in a book, I would be lying if I said quality writing isn’t just as important. Writing is the glue that holds a story together, the backbone without which everything would be a mess. And the backbone in this book is, quite simply, impressive. Many, many sticky notes were used (even though this is a library book, so I have to take them out again).

The story is at once surreal yet dark and realistic. At first there’s only one girl haunting Lauren: Abby Sinclair. Endangered runaway, 17 years old. But then there’s another, and another, and another. Soon Lauren’s got a gaggle of missing girls invading her life, and things are spiraling out of control. She’s drawn to them, guided by some mysterious presence in her life that she can’t begin to explain.

“To know a girl was one, I had to sense it. Something would compel me to stop over a certain page online or in the newspaper microfiche in the library. There’d be a humming in my ears, a chorus strengthened by a new, added voice. [...] The edges of the room would swim with shadows, and those shadows had arms and a legs and mouths that opened.” (pg. 126)

And Lauren decides that these girls, who are missing without a trace—she decides she has to help them. Somehow, she has to help them complete whatever unfinished tasks they left behind. It’s why they’ve come to her, after all. Isn’t it?

As a character, I think Lauren was a bit standoffish, but that wasn’t a bad thing at all in this case. The effect the girls’ visitations had on her was superbly well-done, and I Lauren’s reactions to various situations felt very real to me. The secondary characters, also, were well-done, though they played very minor roles in the story. Lauren’s boyfriend Jamie and her mother, for instance, barely had any stage time, but their sometimes awkward but always well-intentioned support of Lauren was fantastic, both for her, and for the reader. It was great to see that even if she felt completely alone, stuck with her ghosts and her dreams, Lauren had help, if only she could learn to accept it.

The thing with 17 & Gone is that it took me completely by surprise. I thought it was about a girl who saw ghosts, and that’s sort of what it is. But this book is more, and I was honestly surprised by the twist at the end (which maybe wasn’t a twist, per se). I can’t give away why I loved this book so much without verging into spoiler territory, but seriously. The last 100 pages were absolutely flawless for me.

17 & Gone is a mystery novel that’s not quite mystery, and paranormal that’s not quite paranormal. This was surprising and wonderfully dark. Suma’s prose was lush and elegant, and the subtle plot was absorbing from the first page to the last.

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Quinton Wyatt's summer break before high school should be nothing...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
On Delicate Wings
Mia Walters is optimistic that her final high school...
 
4.8
 
0.0 (0)
Only A Breath Apart
Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The world is quite the different place after the loss...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
Pretty in Punxsutawney
A Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup from...
 
5.0
 
4.7 (1)
Through Fathoms Dark and Deep
What’s a pirate without her crew? Abandoned on an...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
99 Lies (100 Hours, #2)
Getting kidnapped over spring break was definitely memorable. But...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Ray Vs the Meaning of Life
Grandma’s Last Will and Testament names Ray to inherit...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
51uDXTa8hxL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Celebrate the weird, wonderful, and the downright bizarre in this...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Next to Last Mistake
Tess Goodwin's life in rural Iowa is sheltered and uncomplicated....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Emerge: The Captive: (Book 3)
A moment of distraction has cost him his freedom...
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
Awakening of Fire (Dragon Born, #1)
Dragons are just legends from the past... Felicia’s life...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Penderwicks at Last
The finale you've all been waiting for: The Penderwicks...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Over Raging Tides
The pirate crew of the Lady Luck lives by...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Positively Izzy
Award-winning comics creator and author of the bestselling Invisible...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Onyx and Ivory
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1)
 
4.0
""Forest of a Thousand Lanterns" was a slow-building and dark YA fantasy. Xifeng has been raised by her cruel aunt..."
The Next to Last Mistake
 
5.0
"'The Next to Last Mistake' by Amalie Jahn will have readers considering their own lives through a bittersweet lens as..."
Pretty in Punxsutawney
 
4.7
"Thank you to Blink and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy for my honest review. As..."
Pretty in Punxsutawney
 
5.0
"Andie moves to Punxsutawney P.A. before the beginning of her senior year. When she falls asleep watching 'Pretty in Pink',..."
Rogue (Talon #2)
 
4.3
"More dragons, what more could you want? Julie has done it again, not only has she written another fantastic..."
The Dysasters
 
3.7
"THE DYSASTERS opens up with Foster and her stepmom Cora on the run and have been for a full year...."
You'd Be Mine
 
4.0
""You'd Be Mine" follows two young country music stars on their path to self-discovery, dealing with past family deaths, and..."
You'd Be Mine
 
4.0
"YOU’D BE MINE by Erin Hahn is a YA contemporary romance set in the confines of country music, road life,..."
99 Lies (100 Hours, #2)
 
4.3
"99 lies pick up exactly where the last book left off, post-kidnapping—at least for most of them. Genesis and Holden..."
Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss
 
4.0
"When Lacey scores a leading role in a zombie movie, she wants to give it her all. However, she struggles..."
Stolen Time
 
3.0
"STOLEN TIME by Danielle Rollins is the first book of a YA time travel trilogy. It begins when Ash, a..."
Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3)
 
4.0
""Their Fractured Light" is a satisfying conclusion to the Starbound trilogy. Each book has followed a different couple along a..."
Only A Breath Apart
 
4.0
"ONLY A BREATH APART alternates POV between Jesse and Scarlett. The two of them used to be best friends as..."
Give The Dark My Love
 
5.0
""Give the Dark My Love" is a dark but engaging YA fantasy. Told in alternating perspectives, we follow two characters-..."
Give The Dark My Love
 
5.0
"Seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her small village to study medicinal alchemy at the famous Yugen Academy. She wants to be..."
A Sky for Us Alone
 
3.3
"A SKY FOR US ALONE by Kristin Russell is a YA coming-of-age novel filled with mystery and heartache. It’s set..."
The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary
 
4.0
"The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary is as disturbing as its name implies. While, in an effort to not trivialize or..."
Easy Prey
 
3.3
"Easy prey’s story is directly relevant to its title. It tells the story of how when you prey on others,..."
Love, Life, and the List
 
4.3
"Abby's goal in life is to become a serious artist. Her hope is to get into a special art camp...."
The Incredible True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction
 
3.0
"It's 1984 and Laura Ratliff is a high school student with issues beyond a typical sixteen-year-old. Her mom and her..."