Never Gone is an absolutely surprising read. I did not expect to love it as much as I did. I expected to like it, sure, but I never expected to be as impressed as I am! For such a young writer to write so much better than some adult writers is certainly impressive and I am definitely a fan.
Never Gone follows a group of friends and how they deal with love and loss and breakups and makeups and fights and fun times. It is going to be a little hard to write this review without giving away the plot but I shall do my best (If you check online you’ll know what the plot is but as I have one before, I’m not saying what the plot is because it is more impactful that way).
Siddharth and Veera have a connection they refuse to acknowledge. There is more to Kavya than her snooty social-butterfly act. Mahir is the heartbroken heartbreaker.
Aslesha has built all her friendships on a foundation of lies. Nikhil has spent his entire life learning how to shut people out.
All Aakash wants is a second chance. And then there’s Ananya. The one who was born to raise hell and change the world.
That’s the synopsis provided online and it is all you need to know. I’m not going to lie and say the book pulled me in from page one, but it definitely pulled me in from the end of chapter one. I could not put it down. And as someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy contemporary fiction and especially stays away from commercial Indian fiction, I mean it when I say this one was an enthralling read.
Anusha weaves a tight story for the most part and keeps you wondering what happened to make this happen and what happened to make that happen. She has POVs jumping from character to character and it was handled impressively well. I enjoyed how each character’s voice was unique and except for two male characters you didn’t even have to read the names to know who was talking.
If you were like me in your childhood and had to switch schools every two years you’ll recognise this group as that big gang in your school who knows each other from the time they were in their KGs. The group you want to be a part of but can’t because you’ll vanish after another year. But this story is an insight to how it feels to belong to such a group and how maybe it isn’t all sunshine and daisies.
While this book is pretty clean (no sex no vulgarity) it did feel a little hard to believe considering I was in the 11th once and all the boys wanted to talk about was that. I guess it is different when you grow up in a group as opposed to when you’re the new girl? I don’t know but I did find it a bit too clean to believe. Though, in a way that made it a relaxing read, I’ll have no qualms about gifting this to my niece and nephew.
All in all, except for one portion at the end where it got a little too dramatic for my tastes, it was a smooth ride and kept the pages turning as each character cried and laughed, dealt with parental pressures and with pressures of trying to be popular and succeeding or failing. I didn’t read this in one sitting. I wanted to but I had to put it down because of a power outage but know that if it hadn’t happened, I’d have read this into the night. I wish I’d had a book like this when I was in the tenth to help me deal with some stuff that the characters here deal with. Recommend this for fans of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. A brilliant and impressive debut, I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
PS – if you didn’t know, Anusha Subramaian is Ravi Subramanian’s daughter and maybe, cough cough, a better writer, cough. Kidding. It’s great. Pick it up.
I* received a copy for review but opinions expressed are my own.