Since You’ve Been Gone
Lena’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Published: May 2014
Emily and Sloane have been inseparable since Sloane moved to this town and they became friends. The outgoing Sloane was the shy Emily’s gate to the world and Emily couldn’t imagine a day without her best friend. But then, what was to be the best summer of their lives begins and Sloane is gone, she can’t be reached on her mobile and the only thing she left is a thirteen-point to-do-list for Emily. Desperate, Emily starts working on the list in the hope that it will lead her to her friend. Apple-picking at night: check, but kissing a stranger or even skinny-dipping? Not included in Emily’s comfort zone.
This book had a slow start for me. As you might have guessed, Emily is very timid and scared in the beginning and the first 80 pages I was thinking about not finishing this book because all Emily seemed to do was be angsty and describe room interior. But as soon as she opens up to other people, things picked up and I started to enjoy it. The existing and growing friendships and Emily’s gradual progress throughout the novel was what kept me going (although Emily’s tendency for dependency on one highly idealised friend figure – while realistic – made me hesitant to wholeheartedly support everything that was going on. Also, neglecting parents theme, be warned. And also, what is with Emily’s fixation on houses?).
From what I hear, including playlists in her books is something the author likes to do. And thus, you will find some playlists in this novel, as well. These didn’t add anything to the story for me because I don’t know any songs or bands by their names, so everything that those could have told me was pretty much lost on me.
At first, I was scared this would be another hype flop for me. And yes, I had some issues with this book, but they were on the character level and just speak for Morgan Matson’s ability to write them believably. I would probably have given this book a higher rating if it wasn’t for the slow beginning and some places where the story slacked elsewhere. Also, some of the tropes in this book were too old to entertain me (see, neglecting parents and cheating).
Not a must-read, but if you enjoy contemporary YA with strong friendships you will like this. Good for winter, perfect for summer, if you ask me.