Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

18189606Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s
Pub Date: July 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 449
Source: Purchased
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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 this list are 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?

My review:

“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.”

In a well-ordered universe… I would have enjoyed this book a lot more. The writing was good (not fantastic), the characters were likable for the most part (but also forgettable), and the plot was exciting enough to keep me reading until I finished it in one sitting (although this to-do list thing is really annoying now).

I think I’m just over this “Sloane” character that appears in so many YA books. She is essentially Margot of Paper Towns, and if you know me, I don’t mean that as a good thing. Sloane is described as this wonderful, elusive, and unique best friend that everyone loves. She’s mysterious and eye-catching and utterly unattainable. So what does that make Emily? Her accessory of the year? I strongly dislike how Emily is basically just labeled as “Sloane’s friend”. She has no other defining characteristics. No real personality. She is not an individual with her own interesting qualities. She is just that girl who always hangs around Sloane. This label bothered me so much, but I suppose it also played an important role in Emily’s character development later on.

When Sloane unexpectedly disappears, Emily is forced to define herself without this heavily relied upon friendship. Since You’ve Been Gone is Emily’s journey to herself. Sure, she only completes this list of outrageous quests (okay guys, none of them were even close to being outrageous, but still) in an attempt to find out where her best friend has gone, but at least she figures out who she is along the way. Kind of. At least she learns what real friendship is like. She learns that she can be her own person, and that she is worth knowing as an individual.

So, yeah, that’s why I gave this book 3.5 stars! Sorry for the mediocre review. I’m sure you will enjoy this book a lot more than I did. It just wasn’t anything new.

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