From Goodreads: 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...
Ever since Katherine got me a copy of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour for my birthday last year I have been OBSESSED with that book and Morgan Matson. She knows how to write really heartfelt stories that are still loaded with lots of fun, laughs, and good times. Basically she writes the perfect summer reads and I can't think of a better book to have read this summer than Since You've Been Gone.
When I first started this book I had a few reservations. Readers are first introduced to Sloane as this strange, wild girl who shook up Emily's life and changed it forever until she mysteriously disappeared without a word. Her character was feeling very manic pixie dream girl to me and I wasn't into it at first at all. On top of that Emily didn't seem to be able to stand up for herself at all. As I'm not really a shy person myself this was frustrating for me and I was curious as to how Morgan Matson was going to handle it.
After I got into the book it became clear that she was going to make all of my worries go away. The flashbacks that were spread out throughout the book allowed an insight into Sloane and Emily's friendship before Sloane left, which made Sloane seem more like real person. I really enjoyed that by the end of the book I was totally in love with their friendship and could completely understand why Sloane is the way she is.
Watching Emily grow and change throughout the book was awesome. She starts out being so timid and lost without her best friend to guide her every movement. I loved watching her learn not only how to stand up for herself but also to be bolder and to just speak her mind instead of going along with everyone else. By the end of the novel she didn't feel like an invisible girl who was just going to float along doing what she was supposed to do. Instead, Emily became the kind of girl that people notice and want to spend time with.
Now let's take a minute to talk about Frank Porter. Because I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE him! At first he comes across as the kind of picture perfect try-hard that would drive me insane but he is yet another character in this book who surprised me. Frank is much more complicated and interesting than just the typical class president who overachieves in everything he does. By the end of the book I was totally in love with him!
I also loved Collins and Dawn, the other two friends that Emily makes along the way during her crazy summer following Sloane's list. They were both funny but were involved enough to not be just supporting characters who fade into the background. Emily's younger brother Beckett was also so cute and I loved reading about the relationship between the two siblings. Emily is a really caring older sister who makes sure to take care of her brother while her parents are busy writing.
Since You've Been Gone is a story about a girl finding how to be a better version of herself through a bunch of crazy adventures in one amazing summer. It's the kind of summer that every teenager hopes to have at some point in their lives. But this book is also a story about two best friends and that is the part I connected with the most. As someone who is about to be a senior in high school I know that all of my friends and I are going in separate directions soon. Reading about Emily and Sloane's friendship struck a cord with me and I'm really glad I read this book when I did.
Basically if you love Morgan Matson's other books, you will love Since You've Been Gone. If you love summer, adventure, a tiny bit of road-tripping then you will love this book. If you are looking for a read that starts out being light and fun but then becomes so much more, then this book will not disappoint. Definitely one of my favorite reads so far this year and I would give it a billion stars if I could! This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you put it down and I highly recommend it to everyone!