confessions / memories / writing

So Many Ways to Be Haunted at 17


If you’ve been reading my blog this week, surely you’ll have noticed all the stories about what consumed and obsessed us when we were 17, all to celebrate the release of my new novel 17 & GONE, now on sale today! Thank you to the generous authors taking part in the Haunted at 17 blog series! There will be more posts in the series coming, more YA authors revealing their 17-year-old selves, tomorrow and Saturday, so please stay tuned.

Here are the posts in the series so far:

But there’s more!

I said if you felt inspired and wanted to write a Haunted at 17 post, I love to read it and share it here—and send you some 17 & GONE swag if you want some. (And I’ll be contacting everyone who wrote a post!)

I will be sharing a final round-up of all the Haunted at 17 links after the week is over, on Monday, but until then, I had to link to the stories that have been sent to me so far. These are moving, beautiful, deeply honest, and so very true.

So many of us were haunted at 17 in so many different ways.

Here are some more Haunted at 17 stories…


Will Ludwigsen: “What haunted me was the possibility of inheriting my father’s glib charisma, his zeal for seizing opportunity, his anxious aggression and temper in a full-tilt battle with the world. What haunted me was the possibility — the probability — that I had sociopathic blood in my veins.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Samantha Mabry: “What plagued me was a narrow-minded, irresponsible determination that prevented me from seeing the joy of the present—the journey, as they say—and always had me hurtling towards the future.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Vanessa Barger: “I was haunted by my inability to look at them and say, ‘If you don’t want to be seen with me all the time, then why bother being friends with me at all?'” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Kelly Jensen: “What haunted me at 17 … is the very thing that now I can finally and truthfully own. I guess this is the first time most of the people in my life, if they read this, will learn.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Natalie Whipple: “By the time I was 17, I was desperate for recognition and wanted so badly to scream, ‘Look at me! SEE ME! I’m right here!'” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Singularly Em: “At 17, what haunted me, consumed my every waking hour… was my obsessiveness, my self-destructive love for my abusive girlfriend, my depression, and most of all… distance.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Madeline Claire Franklin: “The past haunted me. A moment in time haunted me. Being silenced haunted me. … Being silenced still haunts me.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Beth Fred: “I really didn’t know the one word answer to what haunted me, but I’ve found it. The fear of being unlovable. The fear that the adults in my life were right about my lack of worth.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Susan Adrian: “I had no belief that I could do it. I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence, and what I did was fragile, and false.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Mame: “My seventeenth birthday was spent on a New Orleans street corner.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Marisa Reichardt: “By 17, I was afraid of falling asleep at night and not waking up in the morning. I was afraid of dying without having left something worthy in my wake.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Rebecca Barrow: “So what haunted me through 17, that year of parties and older boys and getting far too drunk in the warm safety of my friends’ homes? What haunted me was the idea that it would all go back to before.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.

Sarah Wedgbrow: “I don’t remember being haunted at seventeen, but I am often haunted today by my seventeen year-old self. And I’ve been systematically trying to destroy her.” The full Haunted at 17 post here.


I am honored by these stories—and humbled.

I’ll keep collecting Haunted at 17 stories through the weekend and put up a list of all the links on Monday, and again, if you write one, share the link with me or tweet it to me! I would be thrilled, and can’t wait to devour every word.

You are all wonderful. And I love seeing who you were at 17.

4 thoughts on “So Many Ways to Be Haunted at 17

  1. Pingback: Haunted at 17 | wordchasing

  2. Thank you for doing this. I’ve loved reading all these amazing posts and am honored to be included.

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