Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
My Rating: 5 Stars!
Synopsis: Sloane has always been the one to make Emily’s life interesting. But right before what would’ve been the best summer ever, Sloane disappears without a trace, only leaving a to-do list behind for Emily to complete. This list had activities like apple picking at night, dancing until dawn, and even skinny dipping! Hoping that completing the list will somehow bring Sloane back, Emily has the unexpected help of Frank Porter to accompany her on this adventure through the summer. Along with the tasks of completing the list and finding Sloane, Emily will also learn how to find herself.
My Thoughts: Without a doubt, I absolutely loved this book. I completely identified with Emily during the first half of the book. She is described as being “shy since birth” and is usually the girl in the background; she is known as “Sloane’s friend”. Emily also depends on Sloane to step into situations whenever Emily gets nervous or flustered while talking to people. I totally understand where Emily is coming from because sometimes I get nervous when I talk to people I don’t know and I get my friends to do it for me instead. Sloane’s absence often leaves Emily thinking of things like “if Sloane were here, she would know what to do.” I do wish that Emily had more confidence in her self whenever she talks to people. But I do understand that everybody has their own starting point in order to grow. Thus, the list was created for this exact purpose; to pull Emily out of her shell and show her new experiences.
Initially, the list was one of the factors that got my attention into reading this particular book. Leaving behind the list with activities like sharing secrets in the dark, asking for Mona on this certain street, and sleeping under the stars truly intrigued me and made me wonder if Emily would actually be down and go through with it. Part of me wishes that I had a summer like this with my friends. There was something so satisfying about completing tasks; I felt whole and content whenever something off of the list was done. It was like everything fell into place perfectly. After each new experience, we got to witness Emily gaining confidence within herself and solidifying more and more relationships. I couldn’t help but cheer her on.
It was great to read about a person I can relate with being able to do some of these crazy things. This book made me feel like I could do some of these things as well. My favourite thing about the list is that everything is completely random but then goes with the flow. For example, Emily would start off her day focused on completing one task but ends up finishing a different task instead. Like this one time she was set about asking for Mona, but then ends up apple picking at night instead. It showed me that although some things don’t go according to plan, everything will work out alright.
Throughout the flashbacks in where we got to see Sloane, I liked seeing what kind of a person she was; I liked seeing that she and Emily had such a close relationship. We also got to know Sloane even thought she presently isn’t in the story. I also liked the new relationships that Emily formed with the people around her. Watching the slow friendship develop between her and Frank made me so happy, but I’ll get into that in the spoiler section. I thought that Emily’s relationship between her brother Beckett was super cute and nice, but I wanted to see more of their interactions especially after this one point in the book. Friendship is a huge focus in the story. I loved seeing Emily form her own friendships without being majorly attached to Sloane; she was learning to be her own person.
Frank and Emily becoming friends was once of my favourite parts in this novel. Frank is such a nice person who cares for everyone’s well-being. When Emily frequently kept running into Frank, I just knew that things were going to go well. I absolutely loved it whenever Emily and Frank ran together; this was their way of getting closer while listening to each others’ music. Once thing started getting serious, like sharing secrets under the stars and the slow dancing at the wedding with each other. I just knew that this friendship was something more. BUT, I had to keep reminding myself that Frank has a girlfriend and that it wouldn’t be okay if they got too close. Ultimately, I loved their ending together.
Living room theater would be such a fun thing to experience. I wouldn’t mind having a bunch of my friends over acting out a play for fun. I can already see it now, the chaotic mess and hilarity in my house.
I’m glad that we finally got to meet Sloane in the present day. The amount of time felt so short while Emily and Sloane were catching up; it felt so rushed. But it is understandable considering that Emily had to be back at home before her family. I liked how Emily made her own list for Sloane before she left. I am so glad that they have decided to stay in touch even through the distance. My favourite item on Emily’s list for Sloane would have to be the one about “dating someone who waits until you get inside of your house and then drive away”. It was something along the lines of that and I just thought it was so cute and completely relevant.
My favourite activities on the list that were done would ha.e to be the times when Emily shared some secrets in the dark with Frank, the fake Penelope ID, sleep under the stars, and hug a Jamie. I loved seeing Frank and Emily get closer together; I couldn’t help but gush everywhere to everyone. The whole situation with the ID had me laughing so hard when that person accused Emily about being the Penelope who stole her man. When Beckett found out that he couldn’t go camping with his dad, I felt so sad for him; he was looking forward to that day for so long. Emily spending the night under the stars just talking to her brother touched my heart. The talk that they had about wanting to spend more time together touched my heart. The hug a Jamie task got us closer look into Dawn and Emily’s new friendship. Whenever Emily gained a new friend, I felt ecstatic. Ending the night with hugging James from the gas station was such a nice way to end the chapter. I couldn’t ask for a better list.
**Spoiler section over**
All in all, I for sure recommend this book to everyone. Morgan Matson has done it again. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and it totally will be on my favourites list. In a well ordered universe, everybody would pick this book up.
Thanks for reading as always!