Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone


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?

First line of the book: “The list arrived after Sloane had been gone two weeks.”

Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
My edition: Published by Simon & Schuster Children’s in 2014, with 449 pages
Age: Young Adult (13+)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Chick-Lit, Mystery, Coming of Age

Another book read, and another book enjoyed. After reading the Pledge, sending me into this bad mood because I felt like I’d wasted precious book-time on something that wasn’t really all that good – I felt like reading something contemporary. For some reason, in between all the science fiction and fantasy that I just enjoy so much to read, I sometimes need a break and read something contemporary or romantic.

Since You’ve Been Gone was a random book I picked up in a bookstore when I was on a long-weekend in Trondheim (Norway). It looked kind of nice, but I was also intimidated by the size of the book. I rarely read anything that’s longer than about 350 pages, and this was about a 100 pages longer. But I gave it a try.

To be honest, at first I thought that this was going to be some really cheesy teenage-romance kind of book, which I do enjoy sometimes, but that I feel is just too similar to everything else written in that genre. But reading further into this book, I found that I just wanted to continue reading it. I was like every night trying to stretch the time I was supposed to go to sleep, and because of that I kept falling asleep way too late because of this book.

So, to be honest I was surprised! I liked it. I loved how Matson actually made this more than a romantic story between Emily and Frank, it was more about the friendships you can accomplish if you just let your guard down and say yes once in a while. And the plot kind of spoke to me in a strange way, like how it’s actually important to have more than one friend that you can hang out with or rely on. We can never get enough friends.

It’s so easy to read this book, even though it’s long, I don’t think that I’ve ever read a book as thick as this in just a couple of days. It’s so easy to understand where we are, what they’re doing, who’s saying what and the descriptions are just enough for us to get the feeling of the place we’re in, but we kind of see the places on our own. To take an example, when we were in Frank Porter’s house, I felt like I could see the whole house just within a few words into the description. Especially since Matson decides to explain the vases with the feathers, I just felt like I understood who this family was and what kind of style they lived in.


The characters also surprised me, there weren’t that many, but it was enough that I actually started to see the pattern. Small things about these characters that I have experienced myself. I was beginning to see my friends in these characters and it kind of freaked me out.

Emily is the quiet girl who always feels like she’s the shadow of her best friend Sloan. She’s outgoing, but relies on Sloan being there to be who she feels she is, and has to be. For some reason I thought directly at myself when reading through Emily. Emily was me in her own way. I could see the things she felt, and how she looked upon her friend, and I could see me in those thoughts. So I could really relate to Emily, deeper than I normally do when I read books actually.

Sloane in my eyes was kind of the typical best friend, better looking, outspoken, friendly, all of those things that we kind of want to be? I mean, we all have that one friend that we think looks so pretty, who talks to everyone and who flirts and always gets the attention. And you kind of feel like their shadow in a way, even though you don’t see it at the time being.

Frank is the ultimate good-guy. I instantly thought about some male-form of Rory Gilmore from Gilmore girls. Sweet, kind of innocent and cute/handsome in his own way. I liked Frank, and I liked how he also kind of pressured Emily into doing this list, and into a friendship. I think we all have some people in our lives that we kind of, I don’t know, never really hangs out with because we have this first-impression. Frank Porter is that person.

Collins is also a really good character, this guy that we also like because he just says whatever comes to mind. He’s also that guy who just thinks that he’s not good enough for anyone, so he kind of tries his luck with girls way out of his league because it’s easier to be let down by them, than by other girls.

The ending is cute, I liked it, but I didn’t feel like it gave the book the justice it deserved. It’s cute in the way where we finally understand what really happened, and it was a nice ending to the story. I do feel like I would have liked knowing more about the relationship between Emily and Frank. I liked them.

It’s not a page-turner because of the dramaturgy, it’s a page turner because every chapter has like things that make each chapter like its own little story. Since this book is about Sloane’s list, every chapter has its own list-item to be crossed off. So we get the build up to the list-item, then Emily does the list-item, and then we have the aftermath of the list-item. It works really well, but sometimes I felt like it was kind of unnecessary to have so much monologue where Emily is thinking about what she’s going to do and she kind of goes back and forth etc. I like the going-back-in-time sections, where we kind of get the story behind the list-item – it makes the book have so much more depth.

All though the book has this “Paper Towns by John Green” feeling to it, I found this book kind of more, interesting than Paper Towns was.

It’s a really good book, I like it and I feel like there’s just so much to be learned from this book. Being the quiet girl and trying to be brave socially, it takes bravery! And that’s why this book is worth reading, because the characters are brave and wonderful and there are so much depth in this book through the characters and what’s happening and what happened before. I just love it!

I like the cover, I think that it’s refreshing and I get that perfect summer-feeling looking at it. It’s kind of boring though, comparing it to other YA contemporary books I’ve seen and liked, this doesn’t really cut it.

Favorite quote: “Real friends are the ones you can count on no matter what. The ones who go into the forest to find you and bring you home. And real friends never have to tell you that they’re your friends.”



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