Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 24th, 2015
On the outside, there's Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.
On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there's Amber, locked up for so long she can't imagine freedom.
Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls' darkest mysteries…
What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?
In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other
This was my first Nova Ren Suma book, but it will absolutely not be my last. In fact, I’m tempted to go grab my copy of 17 & Gone off my bookshelf right now. I had no idea what to expect with this book, but I went into it, excited and really hoping I’d love it. And holy crap, I loved it. It’s almost the end of October and I feel pretty confident that this book is going to be my favorite of the month. I love that feeling. I especially love it when I’ve just read a new-to-me author.
There are not enough words to describe how much I loved the writing. It was the kind of writing that pulled you right into the book from the very beginning. It was beautiful and haunting and so vivid. In one chapter, I’d feel like I was in Amber’s jail cell and in the next chapter I felt like I was watching Violet dance. I could smell the smells of the jail where Amber was. I could smell the air in the ballet studio where Violet spent the majority of her time.
Ori is the one that ties these two girls together. I found myself totally invested in both Amber & Ori, bur Violet just really bugged me. She was maddening, but also captivating in a dark & mysterious way. She was incredibly complicated & fascinating, as they all were, and I still do think that she was the most well developed character of the bunch, regardless of how maddening she was to me. I think she reminded me a lot of myself. Her confidence, her drive, her determination to be the best, even at the hands of others. I’ve had that same combination of things swirling around in me. But I never had the darkness in me that Violet had. I could sense the darkness in her from very early on. and I was so curious to see where the story would take her.
“As I walked the hallway, toward B-wing, I was only following the steps I’d taken before. We all were. We always would be.”
“We kept forgetting and we also couldn’t let go.”
It was here that I realized that this was magical realism. Normally magical realism doesn’t work for me, but there are a handful of times that it has. And by this time, I’m totally hooked by the story, dying to figure out what the hell is going on.
I’m not going to say much about the ending, except that it left me very confused. It reminded me a lot of Stephanie Kuehn’s books, actually. Which is really awesome. Suma has made me fall in love with magical realism and I cannot wait to read more books by her.
Final thoughts: If magical realism, haunting prose & complex characters are your thing, then you need to read this book.