Book Review: When She Was Gone – Gwendolen Gross

When She Was Gone coverTitle: When She Was Gone
Author: Gwendolen Gross
ISBN: 9781451684742
Pages: 304
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5


Right before she’s supposed to leave for Cornell, good girl Linsey Hart disappears. Her parents are convinced something’s happened to her, that she’s been abducted, but her ex-boyfriend Timmy isn’t so sure that Linsey didn’t leave of her own accord. As the community comes together to search for Linsey and support the Harts, in private, their accusations and suspicions about how this could have happened threaten to tear the community apart.

Snapshot Review:

Though When She Was Gone seems to be a story about a teenage girl gone missing, it’s really not. While that’s the central event of the plot, the story is actually about what comes after: the reactions of the community. Gross examines how such an occurrence can divide a community; behind closed doors, neighbors wonder how the Harts could have allowed this to happen and criticize all those tiny details that didn’t really matter before Linsey’s disappearance. The novel is told from multiple points of view, of those in the community, and readers get a comprehensive look at just how Linsey’s situation has affected them. In the end, Linsey’s story takes a backseat to Gross’s examination of the superficialities and selfish, hypocritical tendencies present in suburban culture in this slow but thoughtful novel.

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  1. This book has an interesting plot from what you’ve described. No one really examines the hypocrisy in moments such as grief. What were the not-so-likable moments of this novel? You rated it 3.5; this is an unusually low rating.

    I must say I’m intrigued by the concept of the story though. In a way though, it seems as if Linsey’s story isn’t important, which is a shame since she’s the one missing.

    Oh and you have an error in the first paragraph: “could of” should be “could have” or “could’ve.”

    • My ratings are subjective and indicate how much I enjoyed reading a particular novel. In this case, it was interesting but slow, as I’ve said. That’s why I took the rating down a little.

      As an editor, I try to catch all my mistakes before I post, but as any editor will tell you, it’s almost impossible to self-edit correctly.

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