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Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

The Tween doing the #bffchallenge

Publisher’s Description:
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 . . .

My Thoughts:

By the time I graduated high school, I had been to 9 different schools. Yep, that’s a lot. So when we moved the Tween from Ohio to Texas for jobs, I was devastated to be making my daughter leave the very best friend that she had met way back in Kindergarten.  A lot of the emotions in this story really resonated with me; the loss, the confusion, the anger, the despair. But then, Morgan Matson is an author with the feels – she did, after all, write Second Chance Summer, one of the 10 books that made me genuinely weep and sob. In fact, if you have not read Second Chance Summer you should rectify that situation right away.

Since You’ve Been Gone is a personal journey that turns into a road trip. It is an exploration of friendship and romance. It is sometimes funny, sometimes tense, and it manages to balance both wise and witty.

When we first meet Emily, Sloan is already gone (has been gone for 2 weeks), and she is feeling alone, confused, and abandoned. Then the list arrives. The list includes things like 1) Kiss a stranger, 2) Go skinny-dipping, 3) Steal something, 8) The backless dress. and somewhere to wear it, 9) Dance until dawn, and 13) Sleep under the stars. And because the list is her only connection to Sloane, Emily decides to do it.

I loved the way these two friends used lists between each other. I loved their friendship. Not perfect, but true.

Along the way Emily gets Frank involved. Frank is in a relationship. It’s complicated. And being with Emily complicates things even more, as these things tend to do. This too is a fun relationship.

This is the perfect summer read. Kirkus says, “A winning blend of touching moments, memorable characters and situational humor takes readers to a surprising revelation at the story’s end.” (Kirkus 3/15/14). They kind of said it perfectly so it’s hard to top that. But what I am left after reading this book is this: Morgan Matson should be dubbed “The Master of Summer Feels” because she manages to capture all the moments and feelings of summer perfectly in her books.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Published by Simon & Schuster in May 2014. ISBN: 978-1-4424-3500-1. I received a copy of this ARC for review, possibly at TLA.