Emily is about to take some risks and have the most unexpected summer ever in this new novel from the bestselling author of Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. Before Sloane, Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—someone 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 with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane? Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a stranger? Wait…what? Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find. Go Skinny Dipping? Um…
Since You've Been GoneFeaturedHot
Warning: the chapters in Since You’ve Been Gone are almost all really long. The first two chapters together are 90 pages. I warn you of this, because I generally really struggle with long chapters. It’s a sign of how good Since You’ve Been Gone is and how much I was enraptured that it didn’t really bother me in this case. Plus, I think the chapter breaks are really logically done for how Matson is telling the story. Each chapter is an item off the list, until the ending anyway, which is when the chapters get shorter.
What list? Well, Emily’s best friend Sloane disappeared suddenly, despite a summer of plans ahead of them. With no clue where Sloane has gone, Emily keeps calling and not getting an answer. They’ve been inseparable for two years and Emily’s seriously concerned. Then a letter arrives, consisting solely of a list. Sloane did this when Emily left on vacations too, giving her a list of things to do to break out of her shell a bit or see more of the local culture. The fourteen items on this list, sent without a return address, are things Sloane would never do left to her own devices, like skinny-dipping, kissing a stranger, and stealing something.
Emily and Sloane were besties, and they had their roles. Sloane was the dynamic leader and Emily was more of a sidekick. She liked it that way, but she also doesn’t know how to be without Sloane. They’d had their own little world and now Emily’s abandoned and friendless. Without anything else to cling to, as her parents become absorbed in the writing of a new play, Emily throws herself into doing all the things on the list, hoping that this will magically bring Sloane back.
As you might expect, the list leads Emily on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she makes friends: Frank Porter, Dawn, and Collins. She becomes a bit more confident and able to talk with people. She dares and becomes a better person for it. There are setbacks and painful realizations, but the journey is ultimately one of growth and hope. I also really love the way that Matson resolved the arc surrounding Sloane. I was a bit afraid Sloane would be some sort of MPDG, but the ending is perfect. The way the dares actually are accomplished is a lot of fun as well, very often not occurring the way that Emily had planned.
Speaking of perfect, this ship may have caused me some pain, but I love it dearly. Matson achieves the slow swelling of feelings so well. It wasn’t something I shipped from the beginning, but the emotions came on me gradually, just as they did on Emily. Oh, I also very much am on the Dawn/Collins ship, though those two have some serious apologizing to do to Emily for reasons.
What Left Me Wanting More:
I mean, I would have liked shorter chapters, but they were also perfect for the story, so mostly nothing!
The Final Verdict:
Since You’ve Been Gone is a touching story of a girl looking for her friend and finding herself. It’s a novel of reevaluating first impressions and really getting to know people. Also, it’s wonderful and will make you sing Kelly Clarkson for hours.
For the past two years, Emily and Sloane are best friends. That is, until Sloane disappears without any warning. Emily is lost without Sloane. Sloane's the social one, Emily's the shy girl. And now that Sloane is gone, Emily doesn't know what to do. But then, the list appears. A list of 13 crazy, risky things that Emily would never dare to do. But what will happen if she follows the list?
It is official! Morgan Matson is now one of my all-time favorite authors! I have read, and adored, both Second Chance Summer and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour! Now I can add Since You've Been Gone onto the list!
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't that excited about this book when I first saw it. Just based on the synopsis it just didn't seem like my kind of book. But I picked it up anyway, since I loved Morgan's other books. And boy was I wrong about this not being my kind of book! I adored this book!
One of the amazing things of this book was how Emily changed throughout the book. At the beginning, Emily is the shy girl. There are scenes where she wants to ask something, but to scared to start a conversation with a stranger. There are also scenes where she stands around awkwardly because being social is not her thing. (I an relate to both of these things by the way. I am a shy girl as well) But when Emily goes outside of her comfort zone by crossing off things on the list, she becomes less shy and earns some friends along the way. And it's really amazing seeing how this happens. Thus bringing me to another thing that I liked about this book: How the list played out. I really liked the list and thought it was a really cute idea, but what I liked even more was how the list was not just "go do this". Sure, that's basically what the list said, but the way that Emily tried to do the things on the list played out in completely different ways than expected. That is what I loved!
I also want to touch up on the friendship between Emily and Sloane. At first, I did not believe that Emily and Sloane were truly best friends. What kind of best friend would leave without any warning? But as the book went on, I realized that they were absolute best friends and that Sloane, while I do think that her reasoning was stupid, she did have her reasons. All in all, they do have a beautiful friendship.
This was such a great read! Full with a fun, entertaining story along with an amazing character transformation and a beautiful friendship! I highly recommend this book and any book by Morgan Matson!