Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Publication: May 6th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 449 pages
Format: Library book
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um…
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?
Shelf it on Goodreads
So here’s the alphabetical run down:
To be honest, I didn’t love Emily’s character when the book began. She was a bit boring and her lack of self-confidence was frustrating to me. I liked Sloane and wanted the book to be more about her. But as the book progressed, Emily’s character grows and changes and we learned more about Sloane’s character and my preferences for the two actually switched. I love the progression of their two characters and their friendship throughout the book.
Frank really grew as a character throughout the book as well, more because Emily’s perception of him changes than his actual character changing, but as the reader, your perception of him changes as well. Of the Matson books that I have read thus far, (Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, The Unexpected Everything, and this one), I really do enjoy her male main characters. They are quirky or nerdy or awkward or somehow less than perfect, which just makes them that much better.
I really love that this cover looks like a picture of Sloane and Emily and doesn’t feel too posed. The cover models match the descriptions of the characters well, and the fact that they have sunglasses on and aren’t looking straight at the camera means you can still use your imagination to fill in their exact features.
The romance in this book reminds me a lot of Anna and the French Kiss. Although Emily doesn’t really know that it’s going to be a romance from the beginning, the reader knows pretty much immediately. However, there are a lot more swoon-worthy interactions between Anna and Etienne, where SYBG focuses on Emily’s relationship with Sloane and her growth as a person along with her friendship with Frank.
I love Morgan Matson’s lists! I love that her books include things like receipts and playlists and scavenger hunt items and text message conversations. It makes you feel more a part of the story, like you could listen to the same music or gather your friends for the same scavenger hunt.
Another win for Matson is in the details. I’m sure there are ones that I missed, but two that I picked up on: on page 52 of SYBG one of the minor characters is reading a book called Murder of Crows and one of the main characters of The Unexpected Everything is the author of that book. Also, Emily’s parents’ names are the same as Taylor Swift’s parents.
When the book begins, I was lonely for Emily. I honestly thought at one point, I wish this was the story of Emily’s summer with Sloane and not without her. But as the story progresses and Emily makes friends, I understood the importance of Sloane being absent. Actually, I started to prefer it that way.
“Real friends are the ones you can count on no matter what. The ones who go into the forest to find you and bring you home. And real friends never have to tell you that they’re your friends.”
“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”
“This felt like the way you get nervous right before something exciting happens-the moment when you’re balanced on the top of the roller coaster, the hush before the surprise party, the second after the diving board but before the water, when you can close your eyes and imagine, for just a second, that you’re flying. The feeling that good things were coming, almost here, any moment now.”
I loved the friendships and character growth in this book! Definitely a great summer contemporary!