Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Title: Since You've Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published Date: 6 May 2014
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

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?
(summary from Goodreads)

Another fun, real and wonderful book from Morgan Matson.

So I have this sort of rule of 3 in which I pass judgement. Watching new TV shows, I try to watch 3 episodes before deciding whether to stick with it or write it off. If I like 3 singles from a musician, I'll purchase their album. Well, with 3 books that have made me grin, cry, squee and just all out flail as I'm overcome with all sorts of love, Morgan Matson has cemented her place as a favourite author of mine. I am a big, big fan of contemporary YA and Since You've Been Gone encompasses all of the reasons why. The characters, the romance, the relationships in general, the experiences - I can feel my glee rising to gushing levels as I write! I am enamoured with how this book is set out, like a giant, long lasting, full of depth and meaning scavenger hunt. By the end I kept thinking about what sorts of things would grace a list for me, and I'm sure it'll play on your mind too. It's another great thing about this novel, that it gets you thinking because it's so easy to relate to Emily and what she's going through. I truly enjoyed Emily's growth as she worked at completing Sloane's list. I adored the fact that as she came out of her shell, as she began to be herself and stop worrying and over-thinking, she was crossing experiences off the list without forethought and prior planning. I swear, I must've had such a grin on my face throughout most of this book. 

Matson's characters helped to make the grin even bigger...maybe even slightly crazed. What quirky and real characters Matson has created! Emily's parents with their narrow focus on their own play writing starts out frustrating but little by little they realise something important is happening in Emily's life and it's an interesting contrast, seeing how and why Emily's so overly mature. Emily's younger brother, Beckett, is awesome with his love of climbing as high as possible and the sibling bond between them had me wanting to hug this book. Seriously, HUG it. Add in Frank, who sees Emily right from the beginning, and his slow, gorgeously developed romance with her, and just. I'm never letting this book go, k? That's not even taking into account Collins, ready to do anything to get a date and seemingly a total goof, but with a heart of gold; and Dawn, so strong and accepting but ready to stand up for her morals. I have all sorts of love for that, though I will admit to being a little disappointed with how Matson left things with Dawn. I mean, my imagination has it sorted, but it would've been nice to have just that one extra chapter. 

Everything that Emily and Since You've Been Gone is sort of revolves around the friendship between her and Sloane and it provides this novel with such heart. I liked that we get to know Sloane through flashbacks to her and Emily's 2 year friendship. At first, I was leaning towards not being a fan of Sloane as I wondered if she was that kind of friend, holding Emily back from being truly herself, but instead you quickly learn she's the opposite, using lists of dares to gently push Emily to live and experience more, and open up communication between them. Their bond is deep and lasting and that resonates throughout Since You've Been Gone. I must say, the truth about Sloane's disappearance was a bit of a let down. I'd honestly started considering whether Matson was going to travel a more thriller-esque road like witness protection or the like, so my expectations were not what they should have been. The actual truth is still quite emotional though, so I got over it quickly. I just have too many feelings for this book to hold it against it long!

Since You've Been Gone is a book I want to shove at you and demand "READ IT!" So yeah, I loved it.

Also, does anyone else hear Kelly Clarkson singing in their head when they read that title? Yes? No? Well, you will now!



  1. Great review! I've been seeing a lot of praising reviews for this book, so I'm really curious. I hope it doesn't fail me when I pick it up. And I totally agree about the 3 book rule. If an author has never failed me at least 2 or 3 times, they're immediately part of my autobuy list!

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

    1. Thank you so much! I really hope you love it now. It plays on my mind sometimes, that people might read one of my gushing reviews, have higher expectations and then be disappointed, haha! ;-) If you like contemporary ya or other Matson titles, chances are you will like this one. The 3 book rule is definitely a good one, right? :-D