Since You’ve Been Gone.
By Morgan Matson.
From the back cover:
“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?
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?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um…
Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?”
A short synopsis:
It’s summer and rather than being excited about what adventures she and her best-friend Sloane will have together, Emily is having to contemplate a boring summer on her own after Sloane has seemingly abandoned her. Emily is at a loss. That is until a list, written in Sloane’s unmistakable handwriting, is delivered to her house. On it are thirteen challenges that Sloane has set for her. Believing that successfully completing the list will somehow lead to finding Sloane, Emily wants to begin right away.
As she tackles the tasks one by one Emily is surprised to find herself, not only surviving without Sloane but having fun. She finds an unlikely friend in Frank ‘genius’ Porter who makes it his own little project to help Emily complete the list. As the summer progresses Emily comes into her own, relishing her in her new found friendships and confidence. Does she really need Sloane? Will Sloane ever be coming back? Where has she gone?
The first two chapters of this book were painfully slow, I didn’t find myself warming to Emily in the slightest or really caring about Sloane and the list. I found Emily annoying, she was falling apart without her best-friend, and to me that seemed a little pathetic. Thankfully the book did pick up in chapter three; Emily gained some backbone and I found myself rooting for her. I am glad that I persisted with it as in the end it truly was a beautiful book. A perfect summer read.
The characters were great and I loved seeing each of them developing; it was not only Emily that discovered things about herself that summer. Frank, Collins and Dawn all underwent character progressions throughout the story. It was refreshing to not have the focus solely on the main character. I was genuinely interested in Collins’ development, it was great to see him mature and allow his true personality to be seen by others. Of course I loved Frank, how could I not? I ship him and Emily so much! Stupid Lissa. Ughh.
The storyline flowed nicely, after chapter three it was fast-paced and a delight to read. I had some issues with chapter length; I am not a fan of long chapters and some of them were ridiculously long. I was on page 95 and had only finished chapter two! It was too much. On the other hand, I could understand the chapter lengths as each chapter was linked to a particular challenge on the list; some took longer than others. I liked that each chapter was dedicated to a specific task, it meant that you knew what was coming up and built the anticipation as to how Emily would achieve it. The ending to this book was a true ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ and I think it suited the style of the book perfectly.
I would definitely recommend this book to others and I cannot wait to read more by Morgan Matson.