Author: Morgan Matson
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 449 Pages
Published May 2014
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Summary: 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…
This was a book that has been on my TBR for quite some time, and since I've added tons of books since then, it got a little buried--until I decided to dig it out, and I'm totally glad that I did. Since You've Been Gone would've been a great summer read if I had actually read it in the summer!
Emily wakes up one morning to find that her best friend, Sloane, is gone. Poof. Presto. Vanished. She doesn't leave anything behind to hint at where she is--and won't even pick up her cell phone to call her. The only trace left of Sloane is a letter that shows up in Emily's mailbox with no return address, just a doodle of a palm tree and a crescent moon. And in this letter is a slew of things Sloane wants Emily to do--everything that makes her conquer her fears. Written at the bottom of the list is a simple message: When you finish this list, come find me and tell me all about it.
Emily and Sloane's friendship is actually pretty similar to the friendship that my best friend and I have, so I was able to connect to it on that level and I feel like that made all the difference to me. I would never be able to handle the loss of my best friend (after she vanishes out of thin air) as calmly as Emily did, even if it did hurt her inside. And the things on the list that Sloane left were hilarious--all sorts of things to help her grow as a person, come out of her shell, and stop just being known as "the quiet girl who's always attached to Sloane Williams."
(Brief note: Emily's parents in their crazy writing stupor remind me of myself during NaNoWriMo. Another thing I related to and found amusing.)
Matson is definitely a YA writer with a gift for storytelling and intertwining equal parts friendship, romance, and finding yourself. Speaking of romance, onto the topic of boys...FRANK PORTER. Class president, genius, shoo-in for valedictorian. The boy that Emily accidentally bumps into at a party and forms an odd friendship with over the summer. What's in store for the two of them?
Since You've Been Gone is the absolute perfect blend of love and laughter and friends and risk and sadness and gall and adventure. A mix of sooo many great things that I really did enjoy reading and I was very happy with! The dynamics between Sloane and Emily were crafted perfectly...it was a friendship that was totally believable. Even though I felt like there were a couple of unnecessary plot points that the story could have done without, I was very, very happy with this book from start to finish. (And I was definitely sad to have finished!)
All in all, Since You've Been Gone was a great book about love and loss and friends that I couldn't get enough of. Hats off to Morgan Matson and you all should definitely add this book to your TBR lists!