Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Wait…what?
Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find.
Go Skinny Dipping? Um…
Synopsis from Amazon
A few years ago I saw this book in a bookstore and decided to pick it up (I honestly just thought the girls on the cover looked really cool and I wanted to know what their story was!). It was my first time reading a book by Morgan Matson and I was instantly hooked. Since then, I've continued to love all of her characters and the stories she's given us. Since You've Been Gone is a book I like to reread during the summer because (like all of Matson's books) it takes place over the summer months! After rereading this last week, I realized that I had never reviewed it and decided to finally write down my thoughts on it as we're now getting to the end of the summer.
Learning to Challenge Yourself
Sloane's list to Emily is basically forcing Emily to get outside of her comfort zone and really challenge herself to try new things. While not everything on this list is super dramatic or risky to the majority of people, this list is a tough thing for Emily to get through and I think it's wonderful that she eventually completes it. Every time I read this book, I love the moment when Emily goes skinny dipping; this may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but Matson completely puts us in Emily's head and it's clear how much of a "win" this is for her to accomplish. I'm always so proud of her!! I love Emily's growth and how she learns to stand up for herself; she doesn't always make the right choices, but she stops backing down from challenges and I think it's wonderful.
Story of Friendships
There are many relationship dynamics in this book, but my favourites are the different friendships that Matson develops. The obvious one is between Emily and Sloane; this was a great dynamic as these girls outwardly seem like polar opposites, but it becomes clear how much they need each other to grow further. I'm definitely more of an Emily, but I still liked Sloane and understood why she makes the choice to run instead of telling Em the truth. I'm also a BIG Frank fan, so I equally liked reading about him and Collins -- I actually thought that this was an incredibly relationship in the book that wasn't necessarily addressed as much as it could have been. The moment when Collins confronts Emily about how she's been pretty selfish with Frank and that Collins basically just wants to spend time with his bestie but never can always breaks my heart. Collins just wants his friend to fully be present in the friendship, but there's always someone stepping in and I just feel so bad for him! It's also a really needed kick in the pants for Emily to realize that her relationship with Frank needs to be addressed before they start hurting people.
Ending Was A Bit Too Tidy
While the enjoy the book as a whole, I'm never fully satisfied with the ending; everything just seems to wrap up a bit too neatly for me to completely believe it. The biggest things that I tend to question are Sloane's half-baked explanation of why she left (very anti-climatic) and how quickly Frank and Em resolve everything. There was a lot of build up to get to both of these moments and they both felt a bit forced, as if the story needed to wrap up within a certain number of pages. I still love Frank (always!), but I would have loved to see more of a solid conversation and resolution between him and Emily; it was a little too easy for them to figure everything out.
Since You've Been Gone is such a fun summer read (to be fair, I think all of Morgan Matson's books are perfect summer reads) and I always have fun jumping back into these stories. This is an older book (it's from 2014!) but it's still a contemporary book and one I would recommend to fans of YA fiction. After all, who doesn't love a love story with some challenges along the way? :)
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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