Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Keywords: summer, friendship, adventure
Format Read: ARC from author in exchange for honest review (thank you!!)
Get It: Book Depository
This is my first experience with Morgan Matson's books. I know, I know, I really need to read her other ones. But this was my first. And it lived up to every expectation people set going into it. Book hype worries me (example A: We Were Liars. I think it was hyped way too much and then people were expecting this huge, life-changing book, and it didn't live up to those crazy high expectations. I LOVED it, but I read it way before the hype and anyone else read it. I had ZERO expectations). Back on track. Since You've Been Gone.
The book follows a timid and angry Emily because her best friend has completely left without a trace, and the only thing she leaves behind is a list of things for Emily to do. They are clue-filled and a few are things only Emily would know, which is what made it interesting. At her first try crossing an item off the list, she runs into a few classmates, Frank and Collins, and Frank employs her to help him learn to run. She's pretty reluctant, but gives in, and eventually, the list comes out. Now she has help completing some of the items. And even though some were not checked off the way she wanted them to be, she still plugs away at the list in hopes that when she finishes, Sloane will turn up. Sounds good, right?
Right. The relationship built between all the characters was amazing. I felt like it was totally believable that these characters knew each other for years before really talking to Emily, and they had a good background dynamic. I loved Collins, he was one of my favorites. He joked around and was the funny best friend sidekick to Frank, always trying to get girls way out of his league. And Frank... Why do I feel like no one has been swooning over Frank? I totally am. I feel like YA guys, a lot of the time, end up being these mysterious, hunky, man-boys who are always doing the right thing and the girl screws it up and has to figure it out by the end. Frank was a normal teenage boy. He was smart, top in the class, a good friend, but he made mistakes, and sometimes, he wasn't sure what to say. I loved how realistically he was written. He, to me, is one of my top book boyfriends, and I want to get the word out (maybe I just haven't found anyone who likes him as much) that he is this awesome.
Another point I wanted to talk about was Matson's ability to make me invested in a character that wasn't even in the story. Through Emily's narration is the only way the reader gets any information about Sloane, and for a while, I was extremely angry with her. She left Emily with no direction and no information as to where she'd gone, and I was able to feel all this at her without actually being introduced to her character. It was insane! And of course, my feelings changed later on as Emily describes their friendship and how much she misses her, and I start to just want Sloane to come back, all still without ever seeing her in the book.
Read When: Y'all know I'm just going to say read it now. What are you waiting for? Do it!