The Paperback of 17 & GONE

Happy Book Birthday to the paperback edition of 17 & GONE, on sale today!

17&G paperback coverI haven’t yet held a paperback of 17 & GONE in my hands—if you do, please send me a photo—but I am told that the paperback really is on sale today, and so I am choosing to believe it. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll consider buying the paperback edition with Libba Bray’s beautiful blurb on the front cover, and the fiery image you’ll remember from the hardcover.

And to those of you who clicked through to this blog post, I will send you a signed bookplate for your paperback if you’d like one. Just email me your mailing address (sorry—US only, I don’t want to wait on line at the post office).

Happy Book Birthday, 17&G!


[Barnes & Noble]


17 & GONE in Australia: Cover Reveal!

I’m really excited to tell you that 17 & Gone is coming out in Australia and New Zealand in July 2013 from Hardie Grant Egmont—and the book will have its own cover there!

And oh, wow, do I love this cover image. It’s the kind of image I envisioned while I was writing this book… In fact, if I’d seen this picture then, I would have added it to my inspiration board and stared at it while writing creepy scenes, of which there are many.

Thank you so much, Hardie Grant Egmont! I can’t wait for July so I can hold the ANZ edition of 17 & Gone in my hands!


How happy does it make me to see Libba Bray’s blurb on the front cover! So happy.

If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, I hope you’ll pick up the book come July (note: pub date to be confirmed; I will tell you as soon as I know)!

A Tour through My Inspirations

17&Gone boardLast year, when I was deep into writing 17 & Gone, I discovered an exciting new distraction and way to collect images that fascinated me: Pinterest. What started off as maybe one more thing to keep me from writing turned into a great source of inspiration, and my 17 & Gone inspiration board was born. I’d often write with the images up on my screen, staring at them in pauses between paragraphs.

So I was delighted when Penguin suggested I highlight ten images from my inspiration board and share them on a blog tour. On each stop on the blog tour I highlighted one of the photos that spoke to me and helped me find my way through the darkness of writing this book. Now, I wanted to collect all the inspirations in one place.

Below are details from the ten images—and below that are some lines I wrote inspired by looking at the images.


(Click the thumbnail to see the story behind each image.)





(Click the line to see the image that inspired it.)

Another girl could go today.

Abby Sinclair. There at the intersection.

Soon I’d know this dream wasn’t about anyone dying—it was about living on, forever.

She’d lost herself to that place where the missing kids go, the kids no one finds, even when lakes are dredged and woods combed.

The color was indistinguishable up close, so for a moment it seemed her whole head had caught fire.

My arm, threatening to give me up, was already pointing at the mirror.

Once they touch your skin, you’re theirs.

I could see a girl. Then two more girls. Then another. Another.

The ghosts tonight have already told their stories.

Which is what I keep going back to: the fires.

Thanks for entering my head and taking a peek at my inspirations. Don’t you love when other art forms—and other artists—inspire you? Next, I may share some songs.

Giveaway Winners!

It’s a Saturday night, and I’m choosing my giveaway winners! Both winners will get a signed hardcover of 17 & Gone and a signed hardcover of Imaginary Girls to keep it company.


Winner #1 was chosen from among the people who commented on the Haunted at 17 posts… 

Congrats, Logan!

And Winner #2 was chosen from the entry form…

Congrats, Kendra Mase!

I’ll be emailing to ask for your mailing addresses! Thank you so much to everyone who entered!

Haunted at 17: A Giant Link Round-up and a Huge Thank-you


Thank you.

Just thank you.

Thank you to everyone who wrote a Haunted at 17 story and shared it online. I was kind of floored at the response. I spent the week sharing five Haunted at 17 stories here—all five from people who reached out to me and offered their stories to share in full on this site. Here are the five I featured:

Cordelia Jensen: “When I was 17, in 1993–94 Manhattan, I was haunted by AIDS. My father’s sickness an omnipresent force in my life. I tried to push it away with Yearbook, with partying, with Phish shows, and with ’80s movies, but it was there, no matter what.”

Jennifer Gennari: “Seventeen was the sex year.”

Madeline Claire Franklin: “The past haunted me. A moment in time haunted me. Being silenced haunted me. Being silenced still haunts me.”

Courtney Leigh: “…When the priest said homosexuality was wrong, there was a hitch inside this girl inside me. Slowly I began to notice her more and more. Soon she couldn’t keep as quiet or as still.”

Melissa Montavani: “By the time I turned 17, death had been haunting me for years. I was convinced that I wouldn’t make it into my 20s or 30s because I’d found a lump at the back of my neck.”

There are so many more. I want to share them all with you, every last one. So I spent today capturing quotes, collecting links, and making a list…

What Haunted YOU at 17:

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.” Read more 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.” Read more 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?'” Read more 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.” Read more 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!'” Read more 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.” Read more 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.” Read more 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.” Read more here.

Mame: “My seventeenth birthday was spent on a New Orleans street corner.” Read more 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.” Read more 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.” Read more 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.” Read more here.

awholehandful: “What haunted me at seventeen was my quest to not be alone, and my obsession with finding the perfect person to settle down with. Of course, when I was eighteen and decided I needed to stop looking for a guy and just enjoy my life, I met my husband.” Read more here.

Elana K. Arnold: “I tried to become a ghost, starving the fat from my bones, floating my thoughts away on exhalations of smoke.” Read more here.

Katie L. Carroll: “As winter and basketball season approached, I struggled to keep my mini panic attacks from becoming noticeable. What if my one poor grade in pre-calculus junior year tarnished my transcripts? What if I didn’t get into my top college? Or any college? What if my relationship was too good to be true and he dumped me out of the blue?” Read more here.

Takayta: “So, what’s haunted me at 17? Well, for starters, I’m actually 17 right now… I think what haunts me now is just the fact that I’ll be going to college next year, and the fact I’m almost an adult… I just have to brace myself, be prepared, and be positive no matter what happens.” Read more here.

Adrianne Russell: “On the surface, 17 looked awesome. A cute running back called me his girlfriend, I had my own car, lived in a big house in an economically uplifted suburb, made good grades, and was well on my way to being voted one of the Most Popular Seniors in my all-girls private high school. But underneath? Utter fear.” Read more here.

Elena: “I was in love with the idea of being seventeen thanks to pop culture. Ladytron sings ‘they only want you when you’re seventeen’, Broken Social Scene has ‘Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl’,  Stevie Nicks talks about the edge of seventeen, the list goes on. Braces crushed my dreams.” Read more here.

Jennifer R. Hubbard: “At 17, I thought it was all behind me. I didn’t see how much I still carried with me.” Read more here.

Lindsay Leggett: “When I was seventeen I thought of myself as somewhat of a ghost hunter. I wasn’t actively searching, but I never turned down an opportunity to go somewhere creepy.” Read more here.

Reynje: “I think I wanted someone to ask. Part of me wanted them to say: “Are you okay?” so I could say “no.” I wanted to grab their hands and push them against my chest so hard they would break through my sternum, snapping my ribs like dry sticks.” Read more here.

Katie: “At seventeen, I was haunted by desire. Not only desire to be loved and touched and wanted, but desire to make a name for myself, to be wild, to be known. I was desperately afraid of not being known.” Read more here.

pdxjess: “When I was 17, I was still haunted by the death of the first boy I ever slow danced with. He had reddish brown hair, freckles, the biggest smile, and an even bigger temper.” Read more here.

Jody Casella: “When I was seventeen I punched a girl in the face. Even now, many many years later, I can see her expression, her wide eyes, her mouth falling open, and her hands flying up in surprise. ‘You hit me,’ she said. ‘I can’t believe you did that.'” Read more here.

Alexandra: “At seventeen-years-old I was on average a year and a half younger than other college freshmen, which I never thought too much about. …For the majority of my life, I had been living the sort of life that those that are almost two years older than me live.” Read more here.

Jessica R: “I know what haunted me at 17 because it still haunts me today. I’m not haunted by ghosts. I am the ghost.” Read more here.

xdanigirl: “I was haunted by fear. Fear that I wouldn’t get into to the school I wanted…fear of leaving everything I knew to chase my dreams. Then it was fear of being a single mom, fear of not being a good mom, fear of failing myself and my unborn child.” Read more here.

Janet Fox: “Because, at 17, secure and happy with Mike, I decided one day to drop him like a hot rock. And I dropped him for his at-the-time-but-not-to-continue best friend. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But only in hindsight, from way down life’s road.” Read more here.

K. Ashley Dickson: “I was haunted by the discovery that the larger world was spinning at a dizzyingly fast speed, and I suddenly launched into that world, desperate to catch up with it and make myself part of it.” Read more here.

These are all amazing stories, each one true to that moment, that memory, that place, the truth of being 17, because we all have so many truths. I read every word—and I hope you will, too.

I tried to leave comments on all these posts—when comments were open—or contact everyone if I could find a way to contact you to see if you’d like some 17 & GONE swag in thanks. Please get a hold of me if I missed you, or if I missed your post.

I’m truly honored—humbled, really; surprised, also; plain thrilled—that so many people took part in this and shared their Haunted at 17 stories. Thank you for writing them and thank you for reading them and thank you for helping me celebrate the release of my haunted little book.

Haunted at 17: Featured Story #5


Thank you so much for reading the Haunted at 17 blog series to celebrate the publication of my new novel, 17 & Gone! To mark the release of this story about a 17-year-old girl haunted by the missing, I asked some authors I know to join me in answering this question: What haunted YOU at 17? They answered, and now it’s your turn. 

Today I have the last featured Haunted at 17 story sent my way. It’s by Melissa Montovani. Read on to see what haunted her when she was 17 years old… and thank you again for reading all the stories.

Guest post by Melissa Montovani 

(Melissa at age 17.)
(Melissa at age 17.)

Saying that few things haunted me at 17 wouldn’t be completely accurate. The truth is closer to the exact opposite. While I had a small group of great friends, I still felt like I didn’t fit in, that my small town was just too small. One look at the baggy, figure hiding clothes that I wore, including the never-wear-shorts-or-skirts rule, and I remember how uncomfortable I was with my body. Yet all of these hauntings were merely floating on the surface of who I was back then. They didn’t define me. Or, if they defined me at all, it was only in part.

Because by the time I turned 17, death had been haunting me for years. I was convinced that I wouldn’t make it into my 20s or 30s because I’d found a lump at the back of my neck. Cancer was the bogeyman in my closet as a child because most of my grandparents died of some type of it. Entangled up in my worry about the lump was my equally weighty fear that when I did die, I wasn’t someone that people would remember. I figured that if pressed to do so, then some of my peers would say that I was a very quiet, shy, and possibly, stuck up girl with a great smile (maybe they’d mistake a painfully shy girl with snobbishness), but they certainly didn’t know the real me. And as much as I wanted them to, I didn’t know how to share the person I was with them.

However, it wasn’t just my own death and its threat to the shy girl I was that haunted me. A few years earlier, one of my favorite aunts died suddenly and left me with a lot of questions that still haven’t been completely resolved. Unlike everyone else in my life who’d died up till then, she hadn’t been ill, and at 31, she was younger than I am today. All that I really knew was that my aunt, who let me drive her car at 14, who introduced me to some of my favorite bands, and who stood up for me time and time again, had killed herself. None of “the reasons why” explained why I’d never see her again and the words about a knife didn’t explain how it occurred. I may have been a few weeks shy of 15 when she died, but at 17, the horrifying things I imagined happening with that knife still haunted me.

While a lot of time has passed, some of these ghosts haven’t gone away. I learned long ago that the lump wasn’t anything serious. I’m still shy, but nothing like I once was. I haven’t lived in that too small town for a long time, and over the years, I’ve developed more close friendships and come to love my body. But, sometimes, when I least expect it, the ghost that’s haunted me the longest—my aunt’s death—feels like a dull ache.

Melissa Montovani is the founder of, a young adult fiction book blog, where she has been writing content about YA authors and books since 2010. She writes freelance reviews for Canadian Children’s Book News and is the Toronto Young Adult Fiction Examiner for She has an M.A. in English Literature and lives and works in Toronto, Canada.


Don’t miss all the posts in the Haunted at 17 series, in which YA authors revealed what haunted them at 17… (Thank you to these generous authors for taking the time to write these stories and be a part of this!)

Thank you again for reading all the Haunted at 17 stories, here and elsewhere! I’ll be putting up a post featuring all the links that have been sent to me—and I’ll be contacting everyone who wrote a post to see if you’d like some 17 & Gone swag in thanks!