Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher (ARC)
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um…
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for a copy of this book for review!
OK, first off, as I sit and write this review, a song came up on my playlist right at the point where the singer (Amy Seeley) sings “You went away …” If you’ve read this book, you’ll know how crazy that is!
It’s also quite fitting to mention music before writing this review because just as she does in my favourite book, Second Chance Summer, Morgan Matson weaves in some great playlists in this story! I love a good playlist and absolutely loved going through the lists as I read, spying some of my favourite bands.
Before I started reading this one, I was a little danted by the size (it’s 450 pages!) and I was also a little scared that this one wouldn’t live up to Matson’s previous books. I loved Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and bawled my eyes out during Second Chance Summer. I thought there was no way I’d like this one just as much as those ones, but Matson proves me wrong! Man, can that girl write! I was completely sucked in during the first chapter and completely in love by the second.
I had my own theories for the disappearance of Emily’s friend Sloane, but was proven wrong by both of them. I also wondered if Emily would ever get out of her constantly talking about Sloane. Admittedly, it was driving me nuts in the beginning of the story to see Emily talk about how she picked up the phone only to remember that Sloane wouldn’t answer. I wanted Emily to become her own person desperately and was so pleased as I read about her growth in the novel.
I really, really loved the idea of a list left to Emily of things for her to do. It was also great that each of the things on the list had their own bulk in the story — nothing was really glossed over briefly. It made me think of Jenny Han’s new book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before where the main character had all of her letters to her previous crushes mailed out. That book disappointed me a little in the way that some of the letters recipients weren’t really talked about all that much — the focus seemed to be on a select few. Not the case with this book. All of the events weaved in perfectly with the story, making me love it even more.
Like I said, it was wonderful to see Emily grow as a character through these events, her new friends, and her flashbacks to life with Sloane. I felt like we really started to know who Sloane was as the story went on, but we were still missing that crucial piece until the very end. Another great point — and something Matson does best — is that the parents were actually present in this story! Don’t you hate it when you read a book about younger people (read: I’m 33, I can say that.) and the parents just aren’t there? Especially when the characters are staying out late or doing things that young people should probably use their heads before doing? Yeah, that. And the parents aren’t just “there” but they’re actually there. If that makes sense.
All in all, I really loved this one. I don’t think anything could quite live up to Second Chance Summer, but I hold that one so close to my heart that you’d have to use a chisel to release it, it’s that good. I’m not the biggest fan of the cover of this book, but that doesn’t matter. What’s in between the flaps is pure awesomeness. I really recommend it!