Fifteen-year-old artist Dani Deane feels like the universe has imploded when her father dies. Days after his death, she sees him leafing through sketches in her room, roaming the halls at church, wandering his own wake. Is grief making her crazy? Or is her dad truly adrift between this world and the next, trying to contact her?
Dani longs for his help as she tries and fails to communicate with her workaholic mother. Her pain only deepens when astonishing secrets about her family history come to light. But Dani finds a surprising ally in Theo, the quiet guy lingering in the backstage of her life. He persistently reaches out as Dani’s faith falters, her family relationships unravel, and she withdraws into a dangerous obsession with her father’s ghostly appearances. Will she let her broken, prodigal heart find reason to hope again?
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I enjoyed reading Laurel Garver’s "Never Gone." It was a sensitive story filled with mystery and tension. After the tragic loss of her father, Dani, a romantic young artist sets out on a journey to find him, and in the process, her mother and ultimately herself. The main characters have substance, faith and are emotionally grounded. There's a nice sense of time and place and the characters are portrayed with sincerity and confidence. As an artist, I enjoyed the artistic references and colorful descriptions of the creative process. As a former teenager, I could relate to the tension between Dani and her boyfriend Theo and the strength of faith shared between them. It was very real.