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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson (Review)

Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publication.Date:May 6, 2014
Pages:499 (hardcover)
Published By:  Simon & Schuster
Website:Morgan Matson 

Since You've Been Gone on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

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? Ok, 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... (Goodreads)

"Does the offer still stand?" I asked, not knowing that I was going to, just hurting it out. "To help me with the list, I mean?"

"Of course," Frank said, turning to me. "Actually," he said with a smile, "I kind of already started."
"Do you not like the Beatles?" Frank asked, sounding shocked, as we finished our cool-down and started walking back toward my house. "Do you also not like sunshine and laughter and puppies?"
As I titled by head back to look at the stars, I began to really understand, for the first time, just why Sloane sent me the list.

Since you've been gone, I can breathe for the first time. I'm so moving on, yeah yeah!

Okay, now that that's out of the way . . . Seriously, I can't be the only one who broke into song whenever thinking of the title. But let's get to this fabulous, wonderful, endearing, amazing story. I absolutely love Since You've Been Gone. This is my first venture into Morgan and it couldn't have been a better choice.

Emily comes home from a vacation to find her best friend Sloane gone. Like, poof gone. She isn't home and isn't answering any of Emily's phone call. Emily initially isn't worried as Sloane's parents are pretty flighty and this has happened before, but after two weeks she starts to worry. When her list comes in the mail from Sloane, Emily notices a huge difference between this and previous lists from Sloane, the line: When you finish this list, find me and tell me all about it.

Emily panics before deciding to complete the list in hopes that if she does, she'll find Sloane. While awkwardly standing around the Orchard, the first thing she decides to tackle, Emily comments on how people only saw her as "Sloan's friend" and that she doesn't have a close enough relationship with any of her classmates to go talk to them. Sloane was the only friend that Emily had, but not even halfway through the novel she becomes friends with Frank, student body president; Collins, his best friend; and Dawn, from Captain Pizza. I love that at one point in the novel Emily comments to herself that she was only encountered these people because of Sloane's list, but it was Emily herself that forged the friendships she came to cherish.

It's amazing to see Emily progress throughout the novel. She goes from a timid and shy character to somebody more daring and confident. Not only does she find her confidence, but she learns who she is apart from Sloane. For instance, in one of the flashback scenes Emily decides she cannot be friends/date Ray because Sloane is no longer dating John, Ray's best friend. (Personally, I don't think this is a huge spoiler, and I did change the names, but I can see how somebody would - hence it's blacked out. Highlight at your own risk!)

Once Emily gets going on the list, with the help of her new found friends, I found it exceptionally hard to put the novel down. Some of the ways Emily knocks things off the list are beyond adorable - Share some secrets in the dark - and some of them are exceptionally amusing - Skinny dipping. And in all seriousness, I want Morgan to make a list for me!

Since You've Been Gone is an absolutely perfect summer read - or anytime read really. I laughed, I cringed, I grinned like an idiot. It's not just a story about Emily finding herself and her strength, but about the friendships we make with others and how they affect our lives, now and forever.

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