When She Was Gone: Book summary and reviews of When She Was Gone by Gwendolen Gross

When She Was Gone

A Novel

By Gwendolen Gross

When She Was Gone
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2013,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

What happened to Linsey Hart?

When the Cornell-bound teenager disappears into the steamy blue of a late-summer morning, her quiet neighborhood is left to pick apart the threads of their own lives and assumptions.

Linsey's neighbors are just ordinary people—but even ordinary people can keep terrible secrets hidden close. There's Linsey's mother, Abigail, whose door-to-door searching makes her social-outcast status painfully obvious; Mr. Leonard, the quiet, retired piano teacher with insomnia, who saw Linsey leave; Reeva, the queen bee of a clique of mothers, now obsessed with a secret interest; Timmy, Linsey's lovelorn ex-boyfriend; and George, an eleven-year-old loner who is determined to find out what happened to his missing neighbor.

As the days of Linsey's absence tick by, dread and hope threaten to tear a community apart. This luminous new novel by the acclaimed author of The Orphan Sister explores coming of age in the shadows of a suburban life, and what is revealed when the light suddenly shines in. . . .

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Death, life, redemption and music combine in a rewarding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

"What happens behind the closed doors of a neighborhood, and beyond the facades of the people who live there? Gwendolen Gross has the sharp insight of a documentarian, turning her lens on each house of a frightened town after a college-bound girl goes missing. Full of heart but free of sentimentality, When She Was Gone shows the sinews of belonging and not-belonging that bind a community." - Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D

"Gwendolen Gross uses the disappearance of a young woman to tell the story of a community in crisis, and her gaze is both unflinching and surprisingly tender. When She Was Gone is a dark but elegantly crafted book, the tension building toward a climax that promises redemption to its wayward characters." - Holly Goddard Jones, author of The Next Time You See Me

"Gwendolen Gross creates characters so familiar they could live next door. Her new novel, When She Was Gone, reflects a perfect balance of darkness and intricate struggles, woven together with hope and redemption. Abigail, Reeva, and Mr. Leonard's voices form some of the most powerful and beautiful language I've read in quite a while. Mix in a nail-biting plot and you have one outstanding read." - Ann Hite, award-winning author of Ghost on Black Mountain

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Gwendolen Gross is the author of five critically acclaimed novels, including The Orphan Sister and The Other Mother. She has worked with porcupines and kinkajous as a science demonstrator, on mountain tops as a naturalist, as an editor, opera singer, writing instructor, and mom. She lives in Northern New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and son.

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