Nova Ren Suma’s “17 & Gone” is one of those books that gets under your skin. And I mean that as the highest compliment. It seeps into your pores and spikes your blood stream so the story of the lost girls is as much a part of you as the air. This isn’t a story for the faint of heart. And it isn’t an easy read. It’s sad and it’s painful and it breaks your heart. But it is so beautifully written and so very haunting that you can’t put it down. It will make you question your own sanity at times. And that is the brilliance of Nova’s writing. You think the story is about one thing and then even after you’ve been told it’s something else entirely, you still aren’t quite sure what to believe.
What really struck me about this book and these characters though was how normal Lauren felt to me. At times, I feel like her with voices chattering away in my head. Making me see these people with perfect clarity and hear their voices as loud as my own. I know who they are without question. I’m possessive about them. For a time, they are mine and no one else’s. I want to keep them close, peeling back layer upon layer of their stories until they are bare and my head is so full of them that there is no room left for real people.
But there’s always someone to pull me back. To pull me out of my head. To force me to leave my characters, my computer, my house. To remind me that I wouldn’t have these stories to tell if I didn’t get out there and live a little too.