Newb here, lifer on bikes
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: j N of Portland in Vancouver WA
Bikes: 1997 Kona Munimula
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at 5'2", I think you are probably close enough to what you should be on a 17, especially if you are in your fastest growing years. I bought my 10 year old a 16" bike which was definitely a little big for him, but I knew 2 things: He would soon grow into it and he was not going to do anything extreme anytime soon.
When you stand over the bike, the top bar should give you 2-3 inches of crotch clearance. Road bikes you want taller, like 1.5 inches or so, but mtn bikes should be smaller.
Another part of proper fit includes reach, or, how far bent over you are when riding. This is of course determined by the position of the seat, which can be changed by just moving the seat on the post and the height and distance of the handlebars. Changing that requires a different stem.
Ride the bike a mile or two and you'll decide what fits.
Best of luck.