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…
Morgan Matson is one of my favorite authors. I first read her in 2011 with her debut Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. Thoroughly enjoyable road trip book that was perfect for a debut. And then there was Second Chance Summer (review) which I read in 2012 and it gutted me. It was the first book that really made me cry the ugly cry in a really long time. And it is also to this day on my all-time favorite reads list. So basically I’ve been waiting two years for something new from Matson. I was beyond excited when I heard about Since You’ve Been Gone and even more excited after reading it because the book is straight up everything a book should be. I’m not even sure I have an adequate vocabulary to explain just how much this book means to me.
Since You’ve Been Gone is a book about, as cliché as it sounds, growing up and finding out how to stand on your own; how to be strong. Emily has always been the quiet, shy girl. Not one to make friends she has been invisible her whole life. That is until sophomore year when Sloane shows up. The two become inseparable. Sloane is everything Emily isn’t so their friendship works. And then one day Sloane is just completely gone and Emily has no idea what to do. With a summer of loneliness ahead of her Emily feels more lost then she could ever imagine. And then a list of things she should do shows up from Sloane and the whole look of Emily’s lonely summer changes. With the unexpected help of some unexpected people Emily starts to learn what it is like to do the hard things and how it’s okay to actually stand on your own.
No joke when I say this book is completely everything. I have never in my life felt so satisfied and good after finishing a book. Matson has this ability to suck you in on page one with her gorgeous writing, amazing story telling, and her relatable, likable cast of characters. And the cast of SYBG is more than likable. I basically fell in love with them all. Emily’s brother Beckett is awesome in a quirky 10 year old way. Then there is Dawn the unexpected connection. Collins the easy going guy that you want to hang out with. Frank one of the best guys in YA. Sloane who you know through flashbacks but doesn’t leave any less of an imprint. And Emily, the most relatable of the bunch, at least for me. Emily is a pretty good younger version of me. A lot of the stuff she was uncomfortable about are things I was uncomfortable about. Her awkwardness and over thinking her actions just lead to her likability. Not to mention how the character grew as the story progressed.
Actually Emily’s growth was really the most amazing part of the story. It didn’t happen overnight with an epiphany. It wasn’t some rushed job at the end. It was a gradual, natural thing that unfolded over the pages of the book and I loved that. It was organic and not forced and it was something you didn’t even notice was happening until you were all done and started to see where she started and where she ended. Basically it was fantastic and what made this book fantastic.
I could go on and on and probably would if I wasn’t scared to give something away that I don’t want to. Just know that this book made me smile a lot, get chocked up at parts and laugh out loud at other parts. When I read the last page I immediately wanted it to be longer and it was over 400 pages. It had everything I want in a book and it will forever stay with me. There is magic in the pages of Since You’ve Been Gone and you will be doing a disservice to yourself if you don’t read it. Simply put the book may be creeping up into my top ten best ever read list. Read it!
*I have pre-ordered my own copy and can’t wait to put it on my shelf!