Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Posted July 30, 2015 by Inge in Reviews / 6 Comments

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
on 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 496

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?

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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.

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6 responses to “Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

  1. Okay, I loved this book BUT I CONCEDE IT WAS FAR TOO SLOW. I did nearly die of boredom in a few areas…like it felt really fleshed out and I felt like I KNEW all the characters uber well…but a little bit faster would’ve made my life very happy. *nods* OH. But I adore lists. LISTS ARE LIFE. I think I shall write a book totally in lists one day and it’ll be awesome. Can I put “write a list” on my to-do- list?? LIST-CEPTION.

    • You can totally put “write list” on your list of things to do! And you should totally write a book of lists, and many people would read it because secretly we all like lists.

      Oh yeah, I definitely felt like DNFing this a few times, but it wasn’t bad or anything, you know? So I kept reading, and I’m glad I did!

  2. This book was super lovely, and I remember really liking it when I read it last year. I’d been scared because there was SO much hype around it, but overall I think it lived up to it.

    I do agree that the pacing dragged in some places though, even if it made for a really in-depth contemporary novel that explored a lot of the main character and their life and relationships with the other characters. I couldn’t begrudge this book its pace, though, because it was just too lovely as a whole.

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Inge! 😀

    • Sometimes, the pace is needed to set the scene and to really explore all the characters. When you’re socially awkward, life doesn’t go by very fast because you’re not doing a lot of things, and I did feel that way during the book. But once she started doing more, the pace picked up a bit, and that’s when it got good. To see her opening up like that, I loved it.

  3. I do like books where there is a lot of character development and growth and this one seems like it has it as well! I won’t even be able to read this one this summer (because well, I don’t own it) but I am adding it to my TBR of a future one. Oh, and I’m with you on always being the slowest one to read a popular book.

    • Hahaha right? I’m currently reading Percy Jackson for the first time, also one of the last people to do so! I really hope you enjoy this one when you pick it up 🙂

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