Google+ YA Romantics: Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You've Been Gone
by Morgan Matson
Published on May 6, 2014
by Simon & Schuster

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?
My take: I've been a big fan of Morgan Matson since her first book, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. I also read and enjoyed Second Chance Summer. But I have to say that I think Since You've Been Gone is my favorite book of Matson's yet.  It took some of the themes and plot elements of AaRED (facing fears, slow burn romance, road trip) and some from SCS (friendship) and made them into a story that is YA perfection.

I related a lot to Emily. She's a little quiet and reserved, and her friend Sloane had always dragged her on all kinds of fun and crazy adventures. (One of my best friends from college was a little like Sloane and this book reminded me I needed to email her and catch up!) But when Sloane vanishes without a word, all Emily is left with is a long, lonely summer and a wacky to-do list. I'm not always crazy about the bucket list as a plot device, but I thought it worked really well in this book. Some of Sloane's tasks for Emily were very specific, but most of them were about getting Emily to face her shyness and come into her own.

Matson's books always have a strong family element and this one is no exception. In fact, I give this book an award for Most Creative Way to Get YA Parents Out of the Way Without Killing Them. Well done! The romance in this book was of the friendship to love variety. I must be honest: I wasn't 100% crazy about Frank at the beginning. Plus, he had a serious girlfriend. If you are wary of cheating plots and angsty, unnecessary love triangles, do not be afraid. Others may disagree, but I felt that Frank and Emily stayed firmly in the Friend Zone when appropriate.

The mystery of Sloane's disappearance was another minor element of the book. I had a theory that (highlight for spoiler) Sloane disappeared on purpose as a way to force Emily to come into her own. (end spoiler.) But the real story behind Sloane's disappearance was even better. I loved the way that, without being present in the book, Sloane still became a fully developed character.

If, like me, you are a fan of contemporary YA books that are fun and entertaining but also have a strong emotional core, you definitely don't want to miss this one. Since You've Been Gone is a great summer read about facing your fears and insecurities, about the importance of friendship, and about finding confidence in the face of uncertainty.

18 comments:

  1. Your 'award for Most Creative Way to Get YA Parents Out of the Way Without Killing Them' had me cracking up! I might have to put this on my newly forming Contemp TBR Pile. :)

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  2. i'm not even kidding Since You've Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson came on my itunes playlist as i started reading your review (it's a sign) LOL
    Anyways, i totally agree that Matson's book tend to have a focal point on family and this one defietly felt like one of those again. I did enjoy the hige emphasis on friendship had and i totally had the same spoilery thought as you thirty or so pages into the book!
    Great review!
    Lily

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    1. Yep -- the book gets the song in my head every time. Love them both!

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  3. "Most Creative Way to Get YA Parents Out of the Way Without Killing Them" Bahahaha!!! This should be an actual award!

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  4. Oh my, my excitement over this book is off the charts!! I have the audiobook in my Audible cart and plan to download it ASAP. Glad to see you enjoyed it! :)

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  5. I read contemps every once in awhile and I've been hearing good things about this one. I'll have to keep it in mind :) So glad you enjoyed it and great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  6. Definitely moving this one up on my list! I haven't read Second Chance Summer but I really enjoyed Amy & Rogers Epic Detour, so to hear that this is your favorite of all three has me really excited. I love road trips, bucket lists, slow burn romances, best friends, seriously what doesn't this book have?!

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  7. I think that I would relate to Emily as well, I can be more reserved in person

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  8. I think I am really going to like this one. I have had it on my TBR list for a little while now. Great review :)

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  9. I really haven't been that interested in this book, but I love the way you describe it. I really enjoyed Amy and Roger so I guess I should probably give this one a shot too. Especially because I now need to know how the author gets the parents out of the way!

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  10. I want to read this one too since I just finished Amy and Roger and really liked it, but I think I'm going to wait for the German edition of the book to be released because I like the German cover a lot more:)

    Anyway, great review, Jen!

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  11. This is another book that is on my tbr pile. Can't wait to read it.

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  12. This book sounds like a huge winner, it has everything I really like in a contemporary book. Plus this one has family and friend relationships in it, which sounds great!

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  13. I've seen this book around and I love the idea behind it. I love when main characters develop friendships that help them endure through even the most impossible tasks.

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  14. I'm so excited to read this one. I think Morgan Matson is going to be at BEA next week, right? I have to go check my list.

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  15. I got to meet the author and get a signed copy of Since You've Been Gone last month. Her and Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before) came together and it was great to chat with them. I'm hoping to get to both of their books this summer too. Lots and lots of reading.

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