Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sloane is the type of girl who commands a room. Emily is the type of girl who stands in her shadow—but that’s exactly where she wants to be.
Emily thinks they have the perfect friendship and is preparing for an epic summer, but then Sloane just disappears. All Emily has is a list of thirteen things to do that Sloane has sent to her. Apple picking at night. Dance until dawn. Kiss a stranger. Go skinny-dipping. She thinks if she completes them all they’ll lead her to her best friend. As she does this, Emily is forced out of her comfort zone and forms some unexpected relationships.
I’ve seen this book everywhere and everyone always raves about Morgan Matson, so I was super eager to pick it up—especially since it looks like such a summer book.
I really understood Emily. She’s shy, very reserved, and awkward. She gets super uncomfortable when she sees people she knows in public, doesn’t prolong conversations. Sloane really brings her under her wing and connects with Emily, allowing her to be there for the more forward and crazy moments even if she’s not partaking in them.
With her best friend gone Emily’s a little lost. There’s things she’s too afraid to say or do without Sloane there as backup. She really grows as a character though as she checks items off of the to-do list Sloane left her and as she spends more time with her new friends Frank, Collins, and Dawn.
“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”
Emily’s parents are playwrights and college teachers. They’ve started a new play so they’re kind of holed up in their dinning room for most of the novel. It allows Emily to have a little more freedom this summer, but she also decides take care of her brother. Her sisterly side is really sweet, and you can see how their relationship develops in such away only because Sloane is gone and Emily has really grown.
We see Sloane mostly through Emily’s memories. She’s very comfortable with herself. Emily sees her as very glamorous and almost flawless. Everything she does seems easy and fun. I honestly had some problems with her at the beginning, I just wasn’t super fond of the way she treated Emily sometimes.
The list Sloane left Emily really drives the plot of this book. I really enjoyed how a lot of the tasks played out in unconventional and unanticipated ways.
Frank Porter is the class president, salutatorian type guy. He was supposed to be taking a summer course at Princeton with his girlfriend, but he’s not because of family issues. Sloane used to call him a Boy Scout and Emily has this very preconceived notion of him. But, this starts to change as they spend time together and become friends, something Emily finds super unexpected. I love how they’re friendship develops through running together and then just hanging out more frequently. Their runs include playlists, and it was really unique that Matson actually includes them. I loved that Emily listens to so much country. Their friendship is just so great, they’re super open with each other and Frank is so understanding.
Collins is Frank’s best friend, and he’s excited to finally have Frank home for a summer. He’s really fun and super flirty. He literally spends the whole book flirting with all these girls in an attempt to get a girlfriend. I really liked him and found him to be a bit of relief from the more serious and emotional parts of the book.
I’m glad Emily found another girl friend in Dawn. She finds out her boyfriend—whom she works with is cheating on her with her best friend—and seeks refuge at Emily’s work. I like how laid back she was and I think it was good for Emily to have a friend she could just hang out with and not be pressured or overshadowed by.
While the book does have some romance in it, Since You’ve Been Gone is really all about the friendship. The main friendship is obviously the one between Emily and Sloane. I really connected with this, as it reminds me of a friendship I had when I was younger. I was definitely the Emily of the pair. But then there are the new friendships she starts to develop and the friendship between Frank and Collins, just all the friendships.
The ending was very unexpected but in a good way. This book had me laughing, crying, smiling, and feeling butterflies in my stomach. It was just so real and on point. It’s a perfect read for the summer, so if you haven’t read it pick it up soon! You can find Since You’ve Been Gone on Amazon and the author Morgan Matson at morganmatson.com. Let me know what you think in the comments. Plus leave recommendations for my next book!