confessions / memories

Andrea Cremer: Haunted at 17


My new novel, 17 & Gone, is now out in stores (!!!), and to mark the release of this story about a 17-year-old girl haunted by the missing, I’ve asked some authors I know to join me in answering this question… What haunted YOU at 17? Here’s Andrea Cremer revealing what haunted her at 17 years old and what she worries haunts teenagers today even more…

Guest post by Andrea Cremer

I turned seventeen the summer before my senior year of high school. What felt like infinite questions and possibilities shaped my world: What would senior year be like? What colleges would I get into? Where would I decide to go? Is this when everything changes and my life really begins?

All in all my final year of high school was a great one, full of fantastic memories that I treasure, but hovering over it all remained this cloud of questions that shaded every experience with a gray of uncertainty. Questions and doubts like these are completely reasonable if treated that way, but allowed to run amok they can become obstacles to the joys of the present. Too often my questions became about who I thought I ‘should’ be rather than looking at my life, my experiences, my dream to better understand who I truly wanted to become as I stepped out into the world on my own.

So many years later, I was lucky to teach remarkable students at Macalester College. Each year meeting new freshmen, I was startled by how much more competitive the race to college admission had become and how overscheduled my students had been. Many of my students expressed relief because once they arrived at college they only had to focus on their classes instead of constantly trying to become the ideal candidate for admission at their college of choice.

Thinking about my seventeenth year, I often feel like I was haunted by the future, constantly chased by ghosts of what was yet to come. Those pesky spirits sometimes impeded on my happiness and my ability to feel confident in who I was, and even more so, brave enough to take the risks to become the person I truly wanted to be.

Between conversations I’ve had with my students and with teen readers I worry that now teens are even more haunted by their futures than I was. I hope that young men and women on the cusp of independence will exorcise those spirits and instead of fearing the future, to embrace the singular beauty of the present.

InvisibilityAndrea Cremer is the internationally bestselling author of the Nightshade series.  She taught for years at Macalester College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and now lives in New York City.

Find her online at

Follow @andreacremer on Twitter.


Don’t miss the other posts in the series. Throughout the week, more YA authors will reveal what haunted them at 17. Here are the Haunted at 17 posts so far…

Feel inspired and want to share what haunted you at 17? If you write a post on your blog, leave a link or tweet it to me. I’ll send you some 17 & Gone swag if you’d like it, and I’ll be featuring all the posts in a round-up when the week is over, on Monday!

You don’t have to be a writer to take part in this. All you have to be is someone who was once 17.


Want to win a signed hardcover of 17 & Gone, some swag, and a signed hardcover of Imaginary Girls to keep it company? Every commenter on this Haunted at 17 post will be entered to win. You can also enter by filling out this entry form.

The giveaway is international. Closes 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 28. Two winners will be chosen.

 17 & GONE NEWS:

  • 17&Gone_thumbIf you’ll be in New York City for the NYC Teen Author Festival, come see me and get a signed copy of the book! Full schedule here—look out for me TONIGHT, Saturday, March 23 at McNally Jackson or Sunday, March 24 at Books of Wonder!
  • If you’ve pre-ordered 17 & Gone or plan to buy it this week (thank you so much for your support! it means the world to me!) and can’t be in New York City to get it signed, I have a way to sign your book from afar. Leave a comment on this photo on my Facebook author page and I may just mail you a signed and personalized bookplate.


What haunted Bennett Madison at 17?

4 thoughts on “Andrea Cremer: Haunted at 17

  1. That’s such a true statement, that in high school students are haunted by college – it becomes something difficult instead of something to look forward to.

    Awesome post! LOVE Andrea Cremer:))

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  2. I remember 17 and it is a hard age to start making decisions about your future at a time we’re not always sure. My daughter is at that cross roads now and I can see how hard it is as at 17. There is still a whole lot of figuring out who we are, let alone what we want to do for the rest of our life.

  3. I was so anxious about my future at 17 as well. It just petrified me. The idea of college is just that at 17. An idea. Hard to wrap your mind around.

  4. I love this post! I was even younger when the pressures of getting into college and choosing the right course was part of my life – 14/15. At that edge, you never really do know what’s ahead of you or what to expect. Andrea expressed it so wonderfully in this post and I instantly was brought back to that place.

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