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When She Was Gone

2.95  ·  Rating Details ·  814 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
Tom Perotta’s Little Children meets Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones in this suspenseful and beautifully wrought story of a seventeen-year-old girl who vanishes on the eve of her departure for college, as told through the alternating perspectives of her neighbors.Seventeen-year-old Linsey Hart disappears the day before she’s due to leave for college. As her neighbors piece ...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by Gallery Books (first published February 17th 2013)
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I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book. In a way I expected this book to be like The Lovely Bones, but let me tell you When She Was Gone was just the opposite of The Lovely Bones. When She Was Gone is a story about a seventeen year old girl Linsey, who one morning just disappeared without saying a world, She Was Gone. I liked how the story was written. The story was told from different points of view and never from Linsey'
Pamela R Winnick
Apr 08, 2013 Pamela R Winnick rated it it was ok
Gross write beautifully. Her prose is elegant, like Edith Wharton's. But don't expect a page turner. Unfortunately, at least in this book, Gross cannot tell a story well.

The book is structured around the disappearance of a 17-year old girl, soon bound for college. The author refers to the disappearance through the eyes of the family's neighbors. I would have thought that each recollection would shed light on the girl or the reasons for her disappearance; instead, each narrator is self-involved i
Mar 02, 2013 Cari rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a First Reads giveaway. I thought the story sounded interesting and couldn't wait to dive into it. However, I had a hard time getting through the first couple of chapters. Bored! I finally finished the book and can say that I didn't enjoy it all that much. I didn't develop a connection to any of the characters and felt the ending fell extremely flat. I ended the book thinking, "really? That's it?" Also, I feel the writing style isn't cohesive throughout the book. Some sentence ...more
Mary (BookHounds)
Mar 19, 2013 Mary (BookHounds) rated it really liked it

Linsey is scheduled to start at Cornell and right before her family is to drop her off, she vanishes. No one thought anything was wrong with her, except she just broke up with her boyfriend at her mother's insistence and there is no evidence of foul play. The last person to see her is the piano teacher, Mr. Leonard, who lives across the street. The story recount the next ten days while the small community searches for her. As her mother goes door to door searching for informat
Mar 13, 2013 Zoeytron rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Linsey Hart is a day away from leaving home for her first year of college, when she disappears into thin air. This is the story of the 10 days between her disappearance and the resolution of what happened to her. The tale focuses primarily on the people in her neighborhood and the effect this has on them.

Mr. Leonard, a retired music teacher who is dying, playing the piano for himself while wearing his dead mother's gowns, the missing girl's ex-boyfriend, her younger brothers, twins Toby and Cod
Carolyn Delair
Apr 14, 2013 Carolyn Delair rated it it was amazing
This was the first Gwendolen Gross book I've read and I really, really liked it. The story's about a girl who lives in the suburbs who goes missing right before she's supposed to leave for college, but we never see things from her point of view. Instead, it's about all the people who surround her: her mother, her brother, her ex-boyfriend, her neighbors. Each of them knows a little piece of the story and it's part of their story too. I'll definitely be reading more by this author.
Feb 19, 2013 Joe rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book hoping it would get better as I continued reading but I was extremely disappointed. Can't say I really cared about any of the characters. Frankly, I think it was rather amateurishly written and was actually shocked that the author has five 'critically acclaimed' previous novels.
Dec 08, 2013 Jaclyn rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa W.
May 09, 2013 Lisa W. rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Quiet, affluent New Jersey town, like my own, shaken up by the disappearance of a Ivy-league bound teenage girl. Gross's graceful sentences propel the narrative until you are addicted. From a troubled eleven year old boy to a stay at home mom, unwilling to pass the sexy torch to her teenage daughter, to an old musician dying of cancer, Gross gets inside her characters, making you care deeply about all of them.

At the same time, I found myself hoping that Linsey (yes, that's th
Jun 21, 2013 Lynne rated it really liked it
"When She was Gone" is a story about a girl, Linsey ... told through the eyes of her mother, her neighbours (and older man, a middle aged wife, a young boy), her brother, and her boyfriend. I loved it. I thought that each character was not only well developed, but had its own voice. I never questioned the voice or actions of each character. They were believable and true to who they should be. Even though not a single page was told through Linsey's point of view, or in her voice, you still feel a ...more
May 28, 2013 Terri rated it liked it
A young girl disappears on the eve of departing for college, that event echoing in various ways through her family and neighbors. A study in how each of us, whether we choose to or not, impact even those merely peripheral to us. Interesting characters, finely drawn, but forgotten as soon as the book is completed. Just okay.
Aug 22, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
The book is more about each neighbors store than the girl being missing so I felt that was a let down. and I didn't feel some of the characters stories got resolved. Only Mr. Leonard's story really tied up at the end. I was able to finish it but not my favorite.
Apr 18, 2013 Melissa rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Could have been so much better. Interesting premise, but the ultimate conclusion was a huge letdown. Some of the characters, particularly the next-door neighbor man with cancer, were great additions to the story.
Aug 25, 2015 Jayne rated it liked it
A girl goes missing in north Jersey and how it affects everyone. Couldn't put it down, but when I was done, I thought "who cares."
Catherine McKenzie
Apr 13, 2013 Catherine McKenzie rated it it was amazing
I think this is Gwendolen Gross' best work to date. Filled with mystery, suspense and humanity. Highly recommend.
Apr 07, 2013 Bethany rated it did not like it
Thought it would be fascinating, but I didn't end up caring about any of the (too many) characters, or the story.
Laura Gleckel unger
Sep 26, 2013 Laura Gleckel unger rated it liked it
I was not a fan of this book. I didn't think there was enough character development and didn't feel like I ever got to know any of the characters.
Oct 17, 2016 Mel rated it liked it
Just before she is about to leave for college Linsey Hart disappears and we learn through the eyes of her neighbors, who have each witnessed her growing up years, what they each fear for themselves and from the community. Mr. Leonard, the piano teacher and foiled conductor becomes a suspect, though his only crime is his unusual gift and personality. Though we do not learn that much about Linsey herself, we learn about the challenges of remaining a community on a modern suburban block. Geo,
Jul 07, 2015 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: review-book, reviewed
17 year old Linsey Hart disappears the day before she’s supposed to be leaving for college. No one in her small town neighborhood knows where she has gone, but everyone has their own thoughts and opinions about it, and some people try to piece together what happened to her. This story is told from multiple perspectives from several of Linsey’s neighbors, all of whom have their own stories and secrets to hide from one another.

I have always loved reading stories about missing people and disappeara
Laura Kay Bolin
Mar 15, 2013 Laura Kay Bolin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews

It's almost time for the new school year to begin and Linsey Hart is about to go off to school at Cornell. Early one morning Linsey walks off and just disappears. Leaving behind her family and community to wonder and speculate what happened.

When She Was Gone opens up the doors to numerous households in Linsey's small suburban neighborhood and allows it's readers to see inside. As the neighborhood grapples with the young girls' disappearance, they are also
Jul 06, 2013 Shannon rated it really liked it
When She Was Gone is the story of seventeen year old Linsey, who leaves home one summer morning, just days before her scheduled departure for college. Linsey doesn't come home that day. Or the next. This story is told from the differing perspectives of Linsey's neighbors. The reader gradually meets everyone from the music teacher next door to the across the alley neighbor. Each of these characters were unique and seeing Linsey's disappearance from various perspectives - both intimate and tangent ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Indira rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 04, 2013 Marcy rated it really liked it
Shelves: firstreads
I won an ARC of this book through the GoodReads First Reads program.
While the book felt slow at the start, it quickly picked up the pace, and in the end I was unable to put it down. The novel is about a girl who, days before leaving for her first year of college, goes missing. In a way, it is also about her neighbors -- Linsey Hart is pretty much entirely absent save for memories that the community members relay in their portions of the story. Part of what leads to the slow start is the length o
Robert Blumenthal
Jan 30, 2014 Robert Blumenthal rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that crosses over genres. I assumed at first that it was a mystery, which it really is not. It involves a missing high school senior, a beautiful, talented and compassionate girl who is about to go to Cornell University. However, this disappearance really just lurks in the background as various members of this small New Jersey community are examined: a retired music teacher who lives alone, a middle-aged woman having an affair with a teenage boy, a Black boy (of white ...more
Dena Cooper
Jul 03, 2015 Dena Cooper rated it did not like it
Title of this review: AMATEUR HOUR; subtitle: NEVER AGAIN. I'm honesty not even sure where to start with this book - it was so bad. The chapters were named after each character's address which is confusing enough without there being about six different narrators for a book of 270 pages. Not only that, but we get to read every mind-numbing detail of each insignificant neighbor's life story which has little or nothing to do with the actual point: a teenage girl in the neighborhood is missing.

In f
Sep 30, 2013 Patty rated it liked it
When She Was Gone
Gwendolyn Gross

My "in a nutshell" summary...

Life in a smallish town when a girl disappears...very interesting!

My thoughts after reading this book...

The disappearance of a young girl...Linsey...who is about to go off to college...sort of causes her neighborhood to...not fall apart but sort of ignite. It's not a neighborhood where people know each other and are even fond of each other. It's sort of a neighborhood of secrets. The neighborhood houses music lovers and puzzling chil
Leslie Lehr
Jul 21, 2013 Leslie Lehr rated it it was amazing
This beautifully written book pulls you in with thoughtful and descriptive details. The story circles so much around the central conflict of the girl missing that at first I wondered when we would stop circling and move on...then I realized that the circle is the story. The plot is held in place by the passage of days noted in the section headings. The missing girl is like the eye of a tornado, where there is no wind, yet so much circles around it. Each neighbor, young or old, has a deep relatio ...more
Kim Moyer
I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

For a book that says it is about a vanishing girl and her neighbors observations and thoughts on her disappearance, I found it odd that we hear almost nothing about the disappearance of Linsey Hart until over halfway through the book. There is maybe just 2-3 sentences a chapter before that.

Because of the fact I was expecting a book surrounding the mystery of a girl's disappearance, I had a hard time getting into a storyline that was r
PacaLipstick Gramma
Sometimes the synopsis of the book doesn't exactly match the context of the book. Upon reading the book, I didn't see that Linsey's mother was such a social outcast. Young families are busy and it is what it is! And as far as "secrets" go? I am sure behind every closed door there are many things that are not shared with the outside world. Would they be considered "secrets" or just family matters? Things that just NONE of other people's business. Period.

I didn't particularly care for the writer's
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Make a book a bes...: June Read: When She Was Gone 5 23 Dec 25, 2013 03:27PM  
Make a book a bes...: My review When She Was Gone 1 10 Jul 25, 2013 06:20AM  
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Dubbed the reigning queen of women's adventure fiction by Joanna Smith Rakoff in Book Magazine, Gwendolen Gross grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she studied science writing and voice performance. She spent a semester in Australia with a field studies program, studying spectacled fruit bats in the rainforest remnants of Northern Queensland.

After college sh
More about Gwendolen Gross...

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“Sometimes he wrote equations, or musical notation, sometimes he wrote in Latin; he refused to tell her what it was about. "Nothing," he said. "I have nothing important or original to say, yet I feel compelled to express myself, so I just write it down and let it go.” 1 likes
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