Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Read via: E-copy received at Book Con (thanks!)
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?
Morgan Matson has definitely proven to be one of my must-read authors, and this book only makes me even more excited for her next. Also, she has an endless ability to elicit an emotional response from her reader (at least in my case). I think she’s one of the only authors who has made me tear up in every book, and while I wasn’t sobbing during this book like I did in Second Chance Summer, there were certainly a few tears.
Since You’ve Been Gone did start a bit slow for me. It took me a few chapters to get completely hooked, but once I did, it was very hard to put down. One of the things that I struggled with at the beginning was that I had no idea where the story was going or even what kind of story this was. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (and looking back I appreciate it), but it did have an effect on me. Honestly, I still do not know how I would classify this book which is pretty awesome. This is a romance but also a story of friendship. It’s a story about family but also coming-of-age.
I just want to keep these characters with me! I related to Emily in so many ways, and even when her decisions drove me crazy, I could understand and empathize with her and her choices. The growth she shows over the course of the novel was beautiful. Sloane was also a favorite which is somewhat amusing considering she appears in flashbacks. However, I loved the relationship between her and Emily. They start as the classic shy girl/popular girl combination, but slowly the layers are peeled back and it goes much deeper. Having just this friendship would have been enough for me, but there are also some incredible other friendships throughout the novel. Frank and Emily share a great bond that grows very organically and develops into this fantastic friendship and I loved the dynamic between Frank and Collins. Of the great supporting characters, my favorites were Collins (I LOVE HIM!), Beckett, and Dawn. Although Dawn’s storyline is the one issue I had with this book as I felt her and Emily’s story was never fully resolved; I found this a little disappointing.
Overall, Since You’ve Been Gone is another Morgan Matson book to add to the favorites shelf. I was impressed by her complex and raw characters, her suspenseful and natural storytelling, and her ability to make me feel something for each character involved. I would highly recommend this book (and her others) especially to fans of Lauren Morrill and Sarah Dessen. Also, if at all possible go for a hard copy as there are lots of great inclusions (mainly playlists) that aren’t as well formatted in an e-copy.
Overall: 4.8 out of 5