Friday, February 13, 2015

Since You've Been Gone

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-sselected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try...unless they could lead back to her best friend. 

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, 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...

Author: Morgan Matson
Page Count: 449 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Series: No

At the beginning of the year (2015) I joined an online book club. Since You've Been Gone was the first book we chose to read in January. I've heard great things, along with a few bad, but I never really had the urge to pick this book up. A friend gets abandoned during the summer, how great could this be?

Then I read the first chapter. Already the story had me hooked. I enjoyed reading the writing style the author used, and the mystery was already laid out in front of me. Where was Sloane and why did she leave?

Having to figure out a good mystery will usually keep me reading a book even when the story no longer keeps my interest, I can't leave something unsolved. Starting the first couple of chapters I was a little worried I would end up disliking this book. The main character, Emily, was starting to scratch at my nerves in the wrong way.

Finding out Sloane, Emily's best friend, had up and disappeared would be a reasonable explanation to why she was a little depressed and uncertain at the start of the story. Having something like that happen would surely flip a person's world upside down. But there was something about Emily that bugged me a lot. She seemed to be too dependent on Sloane. I understand her character was a shy teenage girl, but the way she seemed to just shut down without her friend really bothered me. I don't mind having a hurt and broken main character to follow, but this character was not my favorite.

That's when I realized after a little more reading, she was basically me. This is one of those characters that gave me a sense of looking into a mirror. I was seeing my old middle and high school self yelling at me from the pages. I'm proud to say, the shy girl that missed opportunities because of doubts and shyness is no longer me, but I still hate knowing I was that person. How much did I miss?

Everything got a little more exciting when Sloane's list showed up. Seeing all the items left for Emily to complete was amusing to read. Some where simple but for others...well let's just say not many people would be willing to do them. (I personally wouldn't steel something, and no way would you find me skinny dipping!) But the interesting part of the list was the way the author presented challenges to each item. Even the most basic item had obstacles to overcome and a deeper meaning that Emily only recognized after she completed the task.

A fun part of reading for me, is seeing a character grow. Sometimes this can mean physically, but most of the time I rather see them grow emotionally. This story is a prime example of character growth. The main character is Emily, her growth is the most noticeable throughout the story. She starts off awkward and shy, but soon becomes a pretty outgoing person with a mind of her own. No longer does she need a  friend to lead the way as she stays silent. As the reader continues the story we also see a bit of growth with Sloane and also Frank.

Frank. Frank Porter. Now if a person were going to picture a great friend/boyfriend Frank would be a great model. From the moment I met Frank, I knew I was going to like him. Without him to help guide the way, Emily would not have succeeded with as much as she did. Frank Porter should have some form of reward for his work.

To be completely honest, there isn't much more I can really say about this book. I loved it! I could keep typing this review, but it would only result in more fangirling, and that could just get awkward. If you really want to know how great this book was, I recommend picking it up! Morgan Matson will be an author I read more of from now on. Sadly, I have to admit this is my first book to read from her, but it will not be my last!

I gave this book a 5 star rating, and it deserved every point of those stars!!