Sunday, 18 August 2013

Book Review | Seventeen & Gone by Nova Ren Suma.

"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. Then a brush with death lands her in the hospital and 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."

What did I Like About this Book?

The Writing

If you know me at all, then you probably know that I'm a hard core lover of lyrical prose. Nova Ren Suma is a master of this - she won me over with her previous novel (Imaginary Girls) and this time is no different. Suma manages to create a unique perspective on the world in a way that only few with true skill are able to do.

The Plot (and plot twist)

An intriguing plot that kept me intrigued, this novel is very well thought out. Suma does a masterful job at setting up very subtle foreshadowing on something that occurs in the novel. If you don't want to find out what the plot twist is though, I'd highly recommend you not looking at the back of the book (i.e. the acknowledgements) because I unwittingly did that and sorta spoiled myself. The pacing was generally very good, and the author wrote in a way that was quietly compelling.

The Characters

I found the characters were well fleshed out. Given the nature of the story, Suma does an exquisite job working to highlight how every lost girl (or child) has a back story and a life many will never know. Very good job. 

The Setting

You could tell that Suma had done her research and I would happily give her ten million rounds of applause for that. Like I mentioned above, the very subtle hints of what was to come was incredibly well-crafted and she really set the tone of the novel quite well.

What Didn't I Like About This Book?

At times, the pacing
Admittedly, when I was reading this, I was only just starting to get out of a reading slump, so I may not be the best judge. However, I did find at times that I could put it down. That's the nature of Suma's novels, I've found. They're heavily character based, and while sometimes it may be slow, the way she drives the character's motivations make it an interesting concept in itself.

The main character

I didn't have a large issue with Lauren (the main character), however I'm sure there will be some people who will find that Lauren perhaps, lacks a certain amount of relatability and/or well-rounded-ness for a main character. Given that the star of the novels are supposed to be the missing girls, however, I don't see this as a problem.


Some Specifics:

Rating - 4.5 Stars
Publication Date - July 2013
Publisher - Hardie Grant Egmont (Aus. Edition)

"Girls go missing every day. They slip out bedroom windows and into strange cars. They leave goodbye notes or they don't get a chance to tell anyone. They cross borders. They hitch rides, squeezing themselves into overcrowded backseats, sitting on willing laps. They curl up and crouch down, or they shove their bodies out of sunroofs and give off victory shouts. Girls make plans, but they also vanish without meaning to, and sometimes people confuse one for the other. Some girls go kicking and screaming and clawing out the eyes of whoever won't let them stay. And then there are the girls who never reach where they're going. Who disappear. Their ends are endless, their stories unknown. These girls are lost, and I'm the only one who's seen them."

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