Author: Morgan Matson
Published: May 6th, 2014
Genre: YA contemporary
POV: 1st person
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: printed ARC
Source: Vine program
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
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?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um...
Summer has only just begun when Emily realizes her best friend Sloane is gone. It's not unusual for Sloane to disappear, but this time things are different and Emily hasn't got a clue where she's gone or if Sloane will even be coming back. All she knows is that their epic plans for summer are over, and have been replaced by a list of things that Sloane wants Emily to do while she's away. To complete the list, Emily will have to find her courage and maybe accept a little help along the way...
I've heard quite a bit about Morgan Matson's novels, and I was pleased to find myself enjoying this story by the time I reached the conclusion. I had high expectations, and while Matson did not deliver a story as wonderful as I hoped, she did write an entertaining story filled with great, realistic characters. Once Emily begins completing the tasks and finds herself bonding more with Frank Porter and a few others, the story becomes something special. Since You've Been Gone has a slow start, but the budding friendships and romance end up making it a worthwhile read in the end.
Highlights: I highly respected Emily's willingness to put herself out there in order to complete Sloane's tasks - she pushed through the awkward moments, stepped outside of her comfort zone, had some fun, gained a new perspective, and even some new friends (which is all fantastic). The characters were wonderful (especially Frank, I quite adore him). I liked the concept too, since Sloane's list made this story into something special. As a whole, this story swept me away - fun, amusing, touching...it was everything I could hope for in a YA contemporary novel, and then some. The playlists were also fabulous, and gave me some new (and old) music to check out.
Lowlights: It took awhile to really get going. While I can relate to a wallflower of a girl, Emily's dependence on Sloane initially bothered me. I kept setting this novel aside in favor of other books, simply because I couldn't care enough to bother reading it all at once. And Sloane! I understood where she was coming from at the end, but I still disagree with the way she initially left things with Emily. The first half of the novel was a struggle, but the last half made it worthwhile.
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5).