The book Never Gone by Anusha Subramaniam was there in my book shelf from a long time to-be-read but for some reasons I kept delaying to read the book. It’s a young adult novel and I thought like majority of novels in this genre, this book will also be all about boozing, sleeping around and shouting “F” words at the drop of hat.
But I was wrong. Never Gone is so different from the most of the books in this genre. It’s a perfect book written by a teenager girl with a teenager’s spirit and tone and is about teenagers. The book deals with many aspects of friendship and how that one among many friends becomes the most special person in one’s life.
Friends and friendship is such an integral part of a teenagers life. Friends becomes the most important people and friendship day is a festival eagerly awaited and celebrated with all the enthusiasm. One’s popularity is known by the number of friends one have. Never Gone rightly captures the essence of friendship and maintains it throughout in the book.
The story is about eight high school teenagers and their friendship with each other. It’s about standing for each other, understanding and supporting each other, sometimes letting down, loosing trust, changing equations and falling apart but somehow their hearts remained connected always.
The plot takes an unexpected turn a little after the beginning of the book, when one of the character Ananya dies unexpectantly. I kept thinking it was a nightmare, a dream which will end. How can the author kill a character who appears to be a lead character of the plot. But for real she dies leaving behind all her friends shattered and devastated.
Death of Ananya proves to be a binding force for her friends. They all felt close to each other as each one of them shared a special relation with the deceased. The author kept Ananya alive through memories, anecdotes, and through surprise letters which Ananya wrote to each of her friend.
These letters were not meant to be read but somehow fell in the hands of her friends. The letter twist was a remarkable thinking of the author and helped the characters to take right decision at the crossroads, gave each one of their story desired shape. In fact I think writing letters or diary in the real life is also a great activity and stress buster and becomes a treasure for your loved ones.
There were seven stories running in parallel and Ananya being common with all of them. It is not an easy task to give equal space and importance to all the characters and their stories, to portray their characters, infuse enough life in them that they almost appear to be realistic. But Anusha being just a novice teenager writer has managed it with ease. This shows she has raw talent and an author to look upon to write some meaningful young adult novels.
The plot is uncluttered and neatly laid down. The book is written from the perspective and point of view of all the seven friends. It keep on changing from one friend to another enabling the author to bring out their stories and readers get to know feelings of all the characters thus saving the readers to come up with assumptions.
High school days are those time when one of your friends becomes that very special person in your life which ultimately is your first crush and on the flip side there are also heart breaks and break-ups as well. This was the foundation of the story for Never Gone.
So there are many happy moments as well as misty-eye scenes as well. Especially when the characters read their letters I really have to fight back tears.
Much unlike other novels in this genre, Never Gone is a clean novel. Like there are no intimate scenes, no sleeping around, no boozing, no smoking, no use of vulgar language. Oh! it was such a relief. It makes reading such a delight and easily relateable. Characters have their shares of heart break and the author has shown the most mature way to handle such situation.
Never Gone is the best Young Adult novel I have read after The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. It is a kind of novel I would love to recommend to all my teenager nieces and nephews.
It is a brilliantly written novel considering the author is barely 16 years old. She has a better grip over the plot and her twist and turns are exceptionally well placed and thought out then compare to her father Ravi Subramaniam’s book.