Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bookanistas rec: 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma

I always feel a little giddy when I actually manage to get a blog post written up. Even more so when it's over something so delicious and enticing as Nova Ren Suma's 17 & GONE--and this the first real review I've written in nearly a year, and for our newly relaunched Bookanistas site at that. Giddy does not begin to cover it. More like delirious and flailing and strangely hyperbolic.

Seriously, though. 17 & GONE has blown my mind. Stick around and see why.

17 & Gone

From Goodreads: 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.

My Review

So. This book was not about what I thought it was about. I mean, YES, there are seventeen-year-old girls and they've gone missing and they're talking to seventeen-year-old Lauren. But this isn't a paranormal, per se. Well, it could be. But it's so much more than that with it's tangled web of genres and directional possibilities. This is, in fact, my very favorite kind of book. And 17 & GONE is officially one of my favorite books ever.

Let me backtrack a minute. Think about all those paranormal/supernatural books you've read (or at least heard about). Now imagine, if you will, what would happen if the freaky things that happened in those books happened in real life. You'd probably be freaking out, and you may never fully recover from those experiences, right? Say word got out that you claimed to be dating a vegetarian vampire. Maybe you'd be dragged off in a straightjacket, yeah? At the very least people might cross the street when they saw you coming, because you, my dear, would be considered certifiable. And on top of that, you might start wondering if maybe you weren't, in fact, losing your mind.

Well, that's the realistic sort of path 17 & GONE takes us on while treading on the edges of a very magical one. 17 & GONE is part psychological, part magic, and in every way a mystery you simply must unravel, no matter how unnerving it is. And it is at times ridiculously unnerving. Nova Ren Suma immerses you so completely into Lauren's character that you begin to forget she's not real--and that you're not her. You get turned upside down, seeing and feeling the world as she's seeing and feeling it, so that when she's certain she's inside the magic, you're certain of it, and when she questions her own sanity, you begin to question it.  When she's curious, no matter how scary the situation might be to an outsider, you feel curiosity more than fear. When she's terrified, no matter how normal a situation might seem to an outsider, you feel the prickle of goosebumps and the intense need to turn the page to find a way out. And when she's with her boyfriend...ah well, you doubt, you wish, you push away, you want

And while you're feeling so much through Lauren, you're just as invested in all of Lauren's lost girls as she is, and you begin to want desperately for them to be found. All of these girls with their distinct personalities and stories worm under your skin and make you feel so much, and draw you to the pleas of other lost girls. And when the danger turns on Lauren and it becomes clear she may also disappear, you find yourself completely incapable of setting down the book until you know exactly what's to become of her.

17 & GONE takes you on a remarkable journey through magic and psychosis and fearful possibility; through desperate longings and the twists and turns our brains will take to find fulfillment of those longings. A work of consummate skill, 17 & GONE is a beautiful, chilling story filled with evocative imagery and thought-provoking, often rhythmic prose. Its arrestive voice and masterful use of dialogue captures the complexity of human interaction and need and leaves no doubt you're entirely inside the mind of a seventeen-year-old girl who's experiencing something truly extraordinary and terrifying. Altogether, 17 & GONE redefines what it means to be lost and will leave you questioning what it means to be found.

If you can't tell, I'm recommending you read this. So, yeah.

PSA Truth in Advertising Reviewer's Credo et cetera: No one sent me this book for review. Nor was I paid. I just totally dig it and think you might too.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are recommending this week:

Carolina Valdez Miller celebrates 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma [YOU ARE HERE, so, don't click this one]

Carrie Harris awakens you to INSOMNIA by Jenn Johansson…with giveaway

Christine Fonseca praises THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting

Corrine Jackson is wild for WHEN IT HAPPENS by  Susane Colasanti

 Elana Johson invites you to her ABANDON release par-tay!

Katy Upperman is bewitched by NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland

Lenore Appelhans  swoons for STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood…with an annotated snippet

Stasia Ward Kehoe is wild for THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky

Tracey Neithercott  highlights WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE by Trish Doller

Tracy E. Banghart  raves over JUMP WHEN READY by David Pandolfe

And don't forget to enter our HUGE Bookanistas Relaunch Giveaway before it ends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Ever since you turned me on to Andrew Smith (via The Marbury Lens) I've taken your word on what books I would like as gospel. Almost so much that I don't need to even read your reviews, but they're so well written, so thoughtful, and such a joy to read, I'd hate to miss out. :)

    1. Aww, big hugs, dude. Thanks! It's hard to do a great book justice, but I try. I feel the same about your reviews and am always grateful for your recommendations.

  2. Aww, what I love is Matt's review of your reviews. :)
    But he's right, you write lovely, thoughtful reviews.


    1. LOL He's a dearheart and has given me a great many beautiful recommendations himself. My next two reads made my TBR list because of him :D

      And thank you!

    2. You are such a dork, Lola, but so am I! So I love you.

  3. Hello Carolina!! Lovely to see a blog post from you!! Lauren sounds like one amazing and fabulous character!! Take care

    1. Thank you, sweetheart! It's so good to have you stop by, too. Hopefully I can keep it up. Working on a new post at the moment. Hopefully it doesn't go the way of all those other posts that didn't make it. I've got probably 40 or so posts in draft mode that never got published. LOL

      And Lauren is fantastic! :D

  4. It sounds captivating! YA and I are taking a break though. But, it sounds good enough that I might have to read it!

    1. LOL I take large breaks from YA. Actually, I take large breaks from reading sometimes. Usually while I'm actively working on a new project, but yeah. It's understandable! If you get a chance to read it, I'd love to discuss it! Thanks for stopping by, Heather!

  5. I agree with Matt and your fine track record of reviews (for me, anyway). You're why i picked up Ship Breaker which i LUUUUUURVED! Also Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
    This book has been on my TBR list for awhile now, but after reading your review i'm going to bump it up higher

    1. Dude, you're so sweet!!! Thank you for saying that. I'm terribly flattered...well I hope you enjoy it! <3

  6. Carol, it's so nice to see you blogging! Your review sounds positively glowing, and thus I shall put 17 & GONE on my TBR list.

    Take care. And oh, I've missed you too!

    1. Aw, well thank you, sweet Wendy! I hope you get a chance to read it. Thanks so much for coming by! <3

  7. This book sounds great. With all the glowing reviews of your reviews in the comments, I'm betting I'll enjoy this one.

    Thanks for the recommend!

    1. Aw shucks! I hope you get a chance to read it, and that you aren't disappointed! I don't think you will be, but I never know how other's tastes will jive with mine. Thanks so much for coming by, Kari. It's so nice to see your name pop up. I hope you're doing well.

  8. An attention-grabbing submit. I suppose your reviews are expressive and also founded. Think nearly everybody agreed within this thread.


Make your comment stand out. Use bold words. Or italics. Whatever.