Title: Gone Away Girl
Author: Julie Caron
Publisher: Independently published
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
First Publication: 2021
Setting place of the story: Arizona, USA
Main characters: Chloe, Bones, Damien and Mel
Narration type: First person
Theme of the book: Coming of age, runaway teen, homelessness, romance, overcoming the odds
Book Summary: Gone Away Girl by Julie Caron
After her mom dies, seventeen-year-old Chloe Ryder gathers the courage to run away from home. There’s nothing keeping her in Idaho, no reason left to be forced to live with her abhorrent step-father. She buys a one-way bus ticket to Flagstaff, Arizona to start a new life. But nothing goes as planned. Finding her first job is harder than it looks and she quickly runs out of money, forcing her to go hungry and live on the streets. With her future in mind, she decides to enroll in a local high school.
As if her life wasn’t messy enough, she soon finds herself developing feelings for Bones, the school’s bad boy, who’s intent on distracting Chloe and keeping her from focusing on her ultimate goal: college and eventually becoming a professional artist. And then there’s Damien, a cute older guy who loves art as much as she does and wants to see her succeed.
But making it in the real world is tough, especially for someone who comes from a family who has never set foot in college. Chloe has a chance at realizing her wildest dreams if she can dig deep and find the needed courage, perseverance and self-love.
Character List: Gone Away Girl by Julie Caron
Chloe – She is the main protagonist. She tries to survive difficult odds and chase after her dreams.
Bones – He is the school’s bad boy. He thinks having a good time and living in the moment is more important than focusing on goals and the future.
Damien – He is a young man who is slightly older than Chloe, who acts as a mentor for her. He wants to see her develop her talents and realize her potential.
Mel – She is a confident, free-spirited rebel who quickly befriends Chloe and takes her under her wing.
Book Review: Gone Away Girl by Julie Caron
Gone Away Girl is all about a seventeen-year-old orphan girl Chloe Ryder growing up in a messy world and how she protects herself from the world and try to achieve her dream. This book brings out all the right emotions, feelings and pain, and that will keep the readers more engrossed into the deep, dark, mature novel.
Chloe Ryder, a 17-year old girl, is living with her mother and step-father in Idaho. After her mom dies, she runs away from her home forever leaving her offensive step-father. She starts new life in Flagstaff, Arizona but it’s never easy for an orphan teenager to make her own space in the ruthless world. So you can see Chloe is not any regular kind of girl, after all she has grown up in an unconventional environment. She thinks she’s safe, but the hits just keep on coming for poor Chloe.
After running out of money and no job, she is forced to live on streets. She finds it more difficult to protect herself from the world. She decides to enroll in a local high school. In school, she has always managed to protect herself, but she develops a bond with Bones, the school’s bad boy who distract Chloe from her goal. Also she develops a friendship with Damien, an older guy admiring arts and wants Chloe to be successful. As she tries to move on with her life, it seems more and more difficult to cope on with it.
“Dreams come true, baby. Don’t ever give up on yours. Promise me.” Those were the last words my mother said to me.
The storytelling of Julie Caron has mesmerized me. She has not tried to show any social stigma or issues in this book, instead she mentions a very personal account of this 17-year old girl. Julie Caron brings out the right elements of emotions in Chloe, which will make the readers fall for Chloe. Even every other character had so many layers. Each and every character is so rich, deep and have so many layers, which are slowly peeled along with the progress of the story and are thus represented to us. There are many twists as well, so just when you think Chloe is finally going to catch a break, it doesn’t happen, which keeps you reading, wondering if this poor girl will finally get her happy ever after.
I see families playing at the park. Dads pushing toddlers on swings, moms licking fingers and cleaning sticky ice cream faces. Lovers kissing on benches. Joggers being led by overzealous dogs. And I wonder if I’ll have anyone ever again.
The prose is always lyrical, Julie Caron’s words are like a tapestry, growing more vibrant as the story continues. With every turn of the page, you keep rooting for Chloe, hoping against hope that somewhere there will be a silver lining. This book has been classified in the young-adult genre, but I think it reads like women’s fiction. The character of Chloe may be young, but to me she’s an old soul who has lived a thousand lives by the time she realizes her dream.
Gone Away Girl has many themes that are intricately woven in the story and it has many touching moments that are truly unforgettable. It was very difficult for me to put this book down. So this is perfect book to curl up with on your weekends.