Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You’ve Been Gone
Publication Date: November 2012
Hardcover, 449 pages, Simon & Schuster
Genres: YA, Contemporary

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? Okay, 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?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

My Review

Emily starts out her summer before her senior year with a missing friend and a very strange to-do list. On the list are tasks like apple picking at night, kissing a stranger, and dancing until dawn. The only problem, her best friend Sloane—the writer of the list—isn’t there to help her out. After a series of strange interactions and a lot of verbal fumbling, Emily makes some new friends and goes on an emotional journey that could help her slip out of her very small shell.

Finding yourself isn’t a piece of cake, and Morgan Matson doesn’t let Emily take the easy way out. Emily chooses to do things she, and I, would never normally do. Honestly, Emily is completely relatable—besides the cross country running thing. I don’t do that, kudos to those who do. She’s amazingly awkward, and her thoughts noticeably show that specific characteristic. She makes me feel 100% socially competent. Although Emily is a very fleshed out character, her companions are not. Frank is the good guy, Collins is the good guy’s wild best friend, and Dawn is the new BFF. That’s all.

And while Matson’s story is completely believable, there are some minor issues. Emily is an observer, but it’s hard to observe your own changes. Especially when they’re buried somewhere on the inside with all of those feelings and other emotional stuff, yet Emily is able to recognize her own character growth rather effortlessly. Also, it’s a fast-paced story, which somewhere along the way loses pieces of its ending. I’m left with questions, and that is not okay. Okay?

So, your to-do list in regards to this book: 1) Expect some cutesy, fluffy, fun stuff. 2) Be prepared for the awkwardness. You know you can relate. 3) Enjoy the playlists of songs provided in the book—Music is cool, and comedy clips are not. You’ll get my reference when you read it. 4) Sigh at all the lovey-dovey moments, not because they’re cheesy, but because they’re cute. 5) Understand that the things I wrote earlier are possible for you to feel while reading. And finally, 6) Smile throughout.

*Note: I received a copy of this book to review from Book Review Board of Missouri. This in no way altered my opinion/review.

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