Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on May 6, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository

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-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, 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...

At this point, I’ve concluded my first Morgan Matson experience, and it will most definitely not be my last. Obviously I’d heard great things and I was a bit worried that Since You’ve Been Gone wouldn’t hold up to the hype. There’s just so much pressure to live up to in cases like this one. I’m pleased to report Since You’ve Been Gone a rousing success with me. Matson’s prose is lovely, her romance slow-burningly sweet, and her frame story immediately compelling.

Warning: the chapters in Since You’ve Been Gone are almost all really long. The first two chapters together are 90 pages. I warn you of this, because I generally really struggle with long chapters. It’s a sign of how good Since You’ve Been Gone is and how much I was enraptured that it didn’t really bother me in this case. Plus, I think the chapter breaks are really logically done for how Matson is telling the story. Each chapter is an item off the list, until the ending anyway, which is when the chapters get shorter.

What list? Well, Emily’s best friend Sloane disappeared suddenly, despite a summer of plans ahead of them. With no clue where Sloane has gone, Emily keeps calling and not getting an answer. They’ve been inseparable for two years and Emily’s seriously concerned. Then a letter arrives, consisting solely of a list. Sloane did this when Emily left on vacations too, giving her a list of things to do to break out of her shell a bit or see more of the local culture. The fourteen items on this list, sent without a return address, are things Sloane would never do left to her own devices, like skinny-dipping, kissing a stranger, and stealing something.

Emily and Sloane were besties, and they had their roles. Sloane was the dynamic leader and Emily was more of a sidekick. She liked it that way, but she also doesn’t know how to be without Sloane. They’d had their own little world and now Emily’s abandoned and friendless. Without anything else to cling to, as her parents become absorbed in the writing of a new play, Emily throws herself into doing all the things on the list, hoping that this will magically bring Sloane back.

As you might expect, the list leads Emily on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she makes friends: Frank Porter, Dawn, and Collins. She becomes a bit more confident and able to talk with people. She dares and becomes a better person for it. There are setbacks and painful realizations, but the journey is ultimately one of growth and hope. I also really love the way that Matson resolved the arc surrounding Sloane. I was a bit afraid Sloane would be some sort of MPDG, but the ending is perfect. The way the dares actually are accomplished is a lot of fun as well, very often not occurring the way that Emily had planned.

Speaking of perfect, this ship may have caused me some pain, but I love it dearly. Matson achieves the slow swelling of feelings so well. It wasn’t something I shipped from the beginning, but the emotions came on me gradually, just as they did on Emily. Oh, I also very much am on the Dawn/Collins ship, though those two have some serious apologizing to do to Emily for View Spoiler ».

Since You’ve Been Gone is a touching story of a girl looking for her friend and finding herself. It’s a novel of reevaluating first impressions and really getting to know people. Also, it’s wonderful and will make you sing Kelly Clarkson for hours.

Favorite Quote:

“Maybe she didn’t do something big. Maybe she just told someone something.”

Frank looked over at me, more serious now. “Like what?”

I shrugged. “Something they’d been needing to hear,” I said. I thought it over for a moment, then added, “I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

pitch perfect gif since you've been gone pitch perfect gif you're so right

9 responses to “Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson”

  1. I really desperately need this book! I love Morgan Matson and I read her “Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour” book and absolutely devoured it in a day or two. Ever since I have been wanting to get my hands on all her novels, but haven’t yet. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I get the problem with long chapters though, I have read books without chapters and that’s really hard to read! Great review 🙂
    Sandra @ Sandra’s World of Books recently posted…Book Translations #4My Profile

  2. Rachel says:

    YESSSSS. I was so, SO nervous to read this review because everyone knows I adore Matson’s books. I’m VERY happy you liked this one! I love how Emily learned to form relationships with new people and by the end, really had a group to call her own. I couldn’t really relate to Emily at all, but watching her growth was pretty neat. Also, FRANK PORTER.
    Rachel recently posted…Epic Recs: May!My Profile

  3. I’m just starting this book (she’s just left The Orchard party) and am REALLY enjoying it. I feel bad that Emily’s so adrift with Sloane gone but I’m also thinking it’s good for her not to have that support system and to get out there on her own.

    And I start singing that damn song every time I see that cover. Every. Time.
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Stone Fox: The Broken Magic Duology by Devon MonkMy Profile

  4. Gillian says:

    YAYYYY now I am convinced I shall also love this. Wahoooooo.
    Gillian recently posted…Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCourMy Profile

  5. Meg says:

    Yesssssss. Need, want, must have. Also I need to rewatch Pitch Perfect bc it’s been like 6 weeks.

    This is the author that is also Katie Finn, right? Excellent, I liked her style in BHFAOTTM.


  6. Morgan says:

    Ahh, long chapters. They only bug me because I hate to stop reading in the middle of a chapter! But that’s ok, I actually like that it’s basically one chapter per list item. Tidy.

    Your review has sealed the deal; I’ve heard such amazing things about this book and I’ve been on such a contemporary kick lately that I have to get it! (And sing Since You’ve Been Gone in my head the entire time.)

  7. fakesteph says:

    I’m so excited that you loved this one.I’m really looking forward to reading it and it will be my first book with this author too.
    fakesteph recently posted…Aliens… Or Something.My Profile

  8. I shipped Dawn and Collins as well! Though I nearly threw my book when that one incident happened -_-

    I can’t stop singing Clarkson either – whenever someone asked what I was reading, I nearly broke out into very loud and obnoxious caterwauling.
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Weekly Recap 26 (May 11)My Profile

  9. I haven’t read any Morgan Matson books yet either but I think this one needs to be my first one. There’s just been so much hype and I was a bit skeptical especially since I’m not big on contemporary and there was nothing about this book that stood out to me – it seemed fairly generic?

    But the reviews have been so good, and I really trust your opinion on books, Christina. I’ll have to make time to give this one a shot over the summer!
    Brenna from Esther’s Ever After recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday {38} LailahMy Profile

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