Friday, September 5, 2014

Since You've Been Gone | Morgan Matson

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?

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?

This was a great contemporary read to wind down the summer. It'a nice short light read. I had a lot of fun reading this book and it's definitely worth reading.

Spoiler-Filled Review

Told from the first person point of view, almost immediately we're introduced to Emily Hughes, our protagonist. From just the first few pages we really get a feel for what her character is like. Morgan Matson does a great job of showing and not telling. By showing Emily's interactions with other people, we can really feel just how dependent she was on Sloan, her best friend.

Personally I really felt like I could connect with Emily. Her interactions with people, including the constant obsession over if she'd said the right thing and thinking just a bit too long about how to initiate conversation really mirrors how I feel, and how I act. Her character is relatable and we really root for her throughout the book. 

A majority of this plot is finishing the list and trying to figure out what happened to Sloan. Of course along the way we meet some people including Frank Porter, class president and all around responsible guy, Matthew Collins, class idiot and flirter of girls out of his league, and Dawn, pizza delivery gal. 

Collins and Dawn were really great side characters. They were in the story just the right about, not too little so you wonder about them, and not too much where they could basically be the main characters. 

I love Frank as a character but I found his action and every scene between him and Emily to be every cliché in every book. They've had one interaction prior to the book, and all of a sudden he's everywhere. Any place she went, he was there, by pure coincidence, which I don't believe. And their whole situation at the end resembled Anna and St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. They kissed, then he went back to his girlfriend, breaking off all contact with her for a couple of days. Then he comes back and wants to talk to her, and she thinks he's going to break up with her and tells him off first. Only later to realize that he went to break up with his girlfriend because he wants to be with her. My question is: why don't you communicate!? Instead of not communicating for a couple days, tell her you're about to break up with your girlfriend because I personally didn't think Emily was in the wrong by "breaking up" with him when he had come to her after seeing Lissa. Her entire philosophy was to break up with him before he could do it to you. And it makes sense, things generally hurt less knowing you had control in the situation and did it to yourself than letting someone else do it.

Generally I really loved the plot. Completing the list and Emily's growth were intertwined so well. It never seemed abrupt or choppy, and the flashbacks to her time with Sloan also were done perfectly, allowing us to understand things on the list we otherwise may not have understood.

The only thing I didn't love about this book was the ending. I think things wrapped up nicely regarding Frank and Sloan, but we never know what happens to Dawn and Collins, especially Dawn. The last time we see her in this book, she's yelling at Emily because she didn't like that Emily kissed Frank knowing he had a girlfriend because it was too close to what happened with her boyfriend and Mandy. But I really wanted their friendship to rekindle and wanted Emily to explain everything that had happened. I think their friendship was really important because for so long Emily has been solely dependent on Sloan and I liked that she got another female friend during this book.

Overall I think it's a really good standalone and I want more standalones like this to read. Let me know in the comments what you thought of this book!