Since You’ve Been Gone
Simon and Schuster, 2014
Paperback, 449 pages
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?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um…
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?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait… what?
This was my first Morgan Matson and I’m surprised that it took me this long to discover her. Luckily, she seems to have quite a following on Bookstagram which is where I first heard of her. And while I really did want to start with her latest book – The Unexpected Everything – I got pulled in by a promotion at Chapters Indigo where I could get Since You’ve Been Gone for $10. (Promotion is over but you can still get it for about that price. Check it out here.) And there have been no regrets.
Since You’ve Been Gone is quite the novel – and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. But it wasn’t entirely perfect. To start, I want to say that I love the whole concept of it and really enjoyed seeing Emily grow and develop as her own person throughout the novel. Having the to-do list from Sloane really pushed her out of her shell and into her own being that she could never do without her best friend. But at the same time, that part didn’t sit well with me because Emily was made to sound like a shell and absolutely nothing without Sloane. She couldn’t go anywhere without her. She had absolutely no other friends. Her life was completely about Sloane – until she disappears. And while I understand that sometimes friendships do feel like everything in the world to us, it was a little unsettling to see Emily have no identity at one point.
“Real friends are the ones you can count on no matter what.
The ones who go into the forest to find you and bring you home.
And real friends never have to tell you that they’re your friends.”
― Morgan Matson,
So it was more the past within the flashbacks that I had a problem with – and at times, Emily’s monologues about just being Sloane’s friend. And so, perhaps that made her development as a character more rewarding as we see her start becoming someone who was more confident and aware of a life that consists of more than just one other person.
I did enjoy her friendship that developed with Frank and while I’m sure that we all saw that romance coming, it was nice to see it happen in a natural and realistic way. Though I am really curious as to what happens with Emily’s friendships with Collins and Dawn since it was never resolved within the novel. I would like to think that after their summer experiences, they’re able to understand and forgive one another. Because it would be a shame to see Emily having only Frank in her life after she worked so hard to build new friendships.
“In a well-ordered universe…”
― Morgan Matson,
Anyways, I really enjoyed this novel. And now I’m trying to decide which of her novels to pick up next – whether I want to start from her first novel or head straight towards the newest one out. Any thoughts?