Thursday, 28 August 2014

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

Since You've Been GoneTitle: Since You've Been Gone 
Author: Morgan Matson
Series:  Standalone
Pages:  449
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Date of Publication: 3rd July, 2014
Source: Publisher, for review*
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 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?


My Thoughts:
I've been a fan of Morgan Matson for a few years now, ever since I read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour back in 2012. I then read Second Chance Summer and cried like a baby, and ever since then I've vowed to read everything that Morgan writes because no other book has made me feel as much as that (I literally cried for about an hour after finishing). So, naturally I had high hopes for Since You've Been Gone, and in no way did it disappoint.

What I particularly love about Morgan's books is that, even though there is romance in all three, the stories are also focused on friendship (and family) relationships too. Don't get me wrong, I love reading about a good romance, but I think girl friends (and boy friends!) are so important and I love reading about the bonds between best friends (even if they do go through their rocky patches - which all friendships do!).

Sloane and Emily are best friends. Sloane is outspoken and daring, while Emily is more of a wallflower. One summer, they have everything planned - they're gonna get a job together, spend time on the beach, have summer romances. But, one day, Sloane is gone, leaving nothing but a list of 13 things that Emily has always been scared of doing. Emily believes that carrying out all 13 items on the list - one of which is the terrifying skinny dipping(!) - will lead her to Sloane, and so she sets off to complete the challenges, initially alone, but before long she meets Frank Porter, Collins and Dawn, who grow to become her friends as they help her complete her list.

I loved it. The whole story, I just loved it. It's quite a beefy novel, at 450 ish pages, yet I still managed to read it in two days. I quickly connected to Emily, identifying with her wallflower personality, and knowing that if I were to be presented with the list, I would also be terrified. I felt like I was right there with her, feeling everything she was - when she first discovered Sloane had gone, when she went to the party in The Orchard alone, when she got to know Frank and realised her feelings might be a little more than just friendship. She just seemed so real, so normal, and I think I would genuinely be friends with her.

Morgan Matson is just so good at writing characters - the whole cast of supporting characters was also fabulously written. As the book goes along you get to know Frank, Collins, Dawn and Sloane just as well as you get to know Emily. I particularly love Frank - obviously! There's none of that instalovey rubbish either - it takes a long time for Emily to realise and accept that she might like Frank, and that's the way that it should be. They are friends first, and only then do you fall in love with Frank right along with Emily and it is just so adorable. Loved it!

Since You've Been Gone was an amazing read, one that I'm sure I will revisit in the future. Complete with playlists throughout the novel (which you should make and listen to while reading because it just makes it that little bit better!) this book is a perfect summer read that will get you feeling! I can't wait to read more of Morgan's books, and even though there probably won't be another one for a while, I am so excited already. If you haven't read any of them yet I really suggest that you do, and Since You've Been Gone would be a great place to start.


*Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster Children's Books for sending me this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my review of the novel. 

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