Since You’ve Been Gone
By Morgan Matson
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um…
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?
I loved this!! I instantly fell in love with Emily, but I’m still a bit perturbed by Sloane’s actions, even with an (anticlimactic) explanation. Since You’ve Been Gone is an amazing coming-of-age summer read!
Emily develops immensely and I’m so happy that I was able to go on the journey with her. Although ‘the list’ is what coaxed Emily out of her comfortable introverted shell and into a strong and confident young woman, it was all with her own initiative. Sloane wasn’t the one pushing her to do anything, instead she simply left without a word and refused to answer any phone calls, text messages, or emails. I still have a bitter taste in my mouth for her, but it ended happily so I’ll eventually let it go.
I also had trouble with the main love interest, Frank, since he was with his girlfriend throughout the entire book. (Long distance or not doesn’t matter—He was with her. Full stop.) Besides that, I really like Frank as a person, a friend, and a love interest when he’s flying single. The side characters, Collins and Dawn, were a lot of fun and made everything more enjoyable. I was laughing out loud and tearing up at all the right times. Mistakes were made, hearts were broken, but everyone turned out okay. Go read it—you might just like it too!
Side note: My main quibble when reading was the excessive use of writing tics rather than coming up with creative ways to express emotions. I developed an eye twitch every time a character “let out a breath” or “furrowed or raised their eyebrows”. The noted breathing is practically a prerequisite for YA, but there’s still a line that shouldn’t be crossed into utter annoyance and distraction.
Audiobook Performance: ★★★★½