13 May 2014
Review: Since You've Been Gone
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There's a bit of an interesting trope in some contemporary young adult novels where the protagonist is given a list of some sort to accomplish, or to help bring out the best in someone, or just complete some basic tasks for the sake of character development. Since You've Been Gone is one of those books, for sure, but ultimately does it better than any other ones I've read up to this point.
The story is of Emily, who has a best friend, Sloane. Sloane has up and disappeared, and the only remaining record of her leaving is a mailed letter with a list of different things to do over the summer, including kissing a stranger, hugging a Jamie, and skinny dipping. Emily is extremely introverted, so this entire list is well outside of her comfort zone, but as this might be the only way for her to find her best friend, she begins working on the list.
It's a longish-book, for sure, but it doesn't really take away from anything. Very little feels drawn-out or unnecessary, and it escapes from the gratuitous nature of the events of many stories like it. Emily is a believable character in many regards, as are the people she meets along the way. The adults in the book are a pretty significant flaw, however, and Emily's parents in particular come up with a random scheme midway through that does derail things for a moment, and for no real significant reason either. That's probably what keeps this book from being near perfect, but it's more a strange aside than a story-ruining exercise.
I know Morgan Matson's previous book was well-received, and I think this one, with its really solid cover and fun story, should be a hit as well. Definitely enjoyed this quite a bit, highly recommended.
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