Publication Date: 6 May 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
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?
Although it took me two weeks to read, I really loved this wonderful contemporary. Since You’ve Been Gone follows Emily, a girl who tends to hide behind the shadow of her best friend, Sloane. During the summer before her senior year, Emily notices that Sloane has left, and the only thing she has given Emily in her absence is a to-do list. It contains thirteen activities that Emily wouldn’t usually do.
I related so much to Emily because I noticed things about our personalities that were very similar. I would have reacted the same as she did in many of the plot’s situations and for that I thought she was a great character. The progression of Emily ticking things off the list helped improve her view of important things, like putting yourself out there. Her confidence developed slowly, which made it very believable. I liked that the message behind this book was aimed at doing things outside of your comfort zone, which is something many readers will be able to learn something from.
The love interest, Frank, was one of the best male characters I have seen in a young adult contemporary novel. He was very sweet and helpful and it was refreshing that their friendship/relationship did not progress too quickly. Emily’s other friends that she makes are all so interesting and together they made a funny and cool group of friends. I loved Dawn and Collins and I thought it was great that Emily was eventually able to make new friends.
Emily’s parents were very strange and it was one thing that made the novel slightly peculiar. Because they think of a new idea for a play, they start neglecting their children and don’t notice little things about them. I found it was a way for the author to ensure Emily could leave the house as she pleased, and while it was a creative idea, I don’t see loving, usually-thoughtful parents doing something like that.
Although the beginning kind of dragged, the last third picked up and I read it with genuine intrigue. The mystery behind what happened to Sloane was constantly on my mind, and I was very satisfied when I finally found out. Sloane was an interesting character and I can see why she did what she did.
One thing that made it a 4.5-star rating rather than a 5-star rating was the tendency the author had to over-write. There were a lot of paragraphs where Emily talked about irrelevant things and even repeated herself. Aside from that, the writing was exceptional and a high standard for a young adult novel.
Usually I don’t desire a sequel after reading a book, but if there was another book after this one, I would totally read it! This was such an enjoyable young adult contemporary book and I will look forward to reading more from the author. I have rated Since You’ve Been Gone 4.5 stars for its well thought-out plot line and fun romance. I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy cute summery contemporaries.