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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Never Gone - Laurel Garver Never Gone is a beautifully written book about loss, grief, redemption, and long-buried secrets. It’s a metaphorical ghost story, which is my favorite kind. Going into the book, I thought it would mostly be about Dani trying to overcome her father’s unexpected death, but it’s about so much more than that—it’s about art, family relationships and the misunderstandings and miscommunications that can rupture them, faith, sanity, and forgiveness. I loved the vividly rendered settings of both New York City and small-town England. The main characters were all multilayered, rich and complex, but I was most impressed that even some of the smaller characters turned out to be much more than they first appeared. Dani’s uncle Philip and Hugh, the sort-of resident lunatic in the British town, were my favorite characters of all. Despite being about grief and death, Never Gone is a very hopeful book; at the same time, I appreciated that the author was willing to go to some very dark places. Dani’s disturbing dreams, in which she sort of constructs a new, healthier body for herself, were especially powerful. The descriptions of art were also very well done, particularly the breathtaking scene when Dani works with color rather than her usual pencils at the end. Overall, Never Gone is a moving look at one girl discovering that she can survive the deepest loss, and that the people she thinks she knows best just might surprise her.Favorite Quotes:“…I search for a tender, new heart. I know it will have the honeyed scent of snowdrops that fight to bloom through ice.”“Something in my mind, like an eye behind my eye, sees angel shapes in shadows of our lamp-lit street.”