March 21, 2013

Gone, but never forgotten

By Nova Ren Suma
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After 17-year-old Lauren Woodman sees the poster for a missing local girl, she begins having visions of other 17-year-old girls who have gone missing. These girls appear to Lauren, both in dreams and in daytime, to tell their chilling stories. Some of the girls ran away only to meet unspeakable ends. Some were taken during their most vulnerable moments. Others simply vanished without a trace. But it’s Abby Sinclair, the girl who allegedly ran away from a nearby summer camp, that torments Lauren the most.

For some reason, Abby can’t tell Lauren her story. Is Abby dead like so many of the other girls? Or is she somewhere else, calling out for help and only Lauren can hear her? As Lauren investigates Abby’s disappearance, she discovers that being labeled a “runaway” means that just about everyone has given up on finding her. But Lauren’s investigation soon becomes an obsession, an obsession triggered by the long-ago disappearance of her neighbor’s daughter—a disappearance Lauren can never forget. It’s clear that Lauren is being haunted by these girls. But are these girls ghosts or something more sinister?

Nova Ren Suma, arguably one of the best YA authors writing today, has penned a chilling tale about what it means to be 17 years old and lost. Lauren is a raw protagonist. Unlike police and friends, she refuses to give up on finding what happened to these missing girls, even if it means losing a bit of herself in the process. 17 & Gone will frighten readers, not because of its haunting atmosphere, but because Suma grounds her readers in a harsh reality: Girls go missing all the time—and that’s the horror of it.

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17 & Gone

17 & Gone

By Nova Ren Suma
Dutton Children's Books
ISBN 9780525423409

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