Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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?
Since You’ve Been Gone —
*cue Kelly Clarkson song stuck in your head for the rest of the day*
Sorry, where was I? Right — Since You’ve Been Gone was THE summer read of 2014, from all the publicity it got back then in the booksphere. So it seems only natural that I only got to reading it right now. For all of you out there who always seem to be the last to read a popular book – I salute you! Rest assured that this book is still a perfectly satisfactory summer read this time around.
Emily used to be the definition of ‘invisible’ and embodied a wallflower like no other girl, until Sloane came along. From then on, Emily became ‘Sloane and Emily’ – she got out of her shell, gained more confidence, and started living life. But when Sloane disappears one day, it seems that Emily has gone back to square one. She doesn’t know who she can be if she’s not Sloane’s sidekick. Things get even worse when Sloane sends her a to-do list. Go skinny-dipping? Like hell. Kiss a stranger? Are you nuts? Slowly she discovers, though, that things get a lot easier with a little help from your friends.
I loved the premise of this book. I seem to be developing a soft spot for books with to-do lists, because they sound fun and they’re a great way to write beautiful character development. That’s where Since You’ve Been Gone really strikes true – seeing Emily blossom from not knowing how to be her own person, to making friends without Sloane, who like her for her. It was realistic and cute and all kinds of amazing, and I was really rooting for her. While incredibly awkward at first, Emily bloomed (take a shot every time I use a flowery verb!) into a real person, able to enjoy life on her own.
Not just that, but seeing her friendships develop was great. Making friends isn’t easy when you’re an awkward turtle, but eventually Emily grew more comfortable and started opening up. I especially loved her friendship with Frank Porter, one of her classmates. As soon as he jumped on board with the to-do list, things really picked up.
Character development, interesting tasks, fun side characters, this book checked all the boxes. However, I had one major problem with it, and that was the pace. It was SO slow. And while I like that the story wasn’t rushed and we really got to get to know everyone, the pace bothered me a lot. You know those people in front of you on a sidewalk who walk incredibly slowly, and you’re kind of jittering about, trying to pass but you can’t? This book is those people – you want them to move along, but you can’t really skip ahead, either. It felt about as slow as I am on a Sunday morning (and that’s pretty damn slow).
All in all, though, I can only give a positive rating for this book. Yes, it was slow, but it was never dull enough for me to not want to finish it. I kept reading, and I was rewarded with cute scenes of skinny-dipping and indoor camping and a developing romance. This was a beautiful summer read, no matter what year it is.