4th of July Read: SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    I wasn't at home to get it because I was at Sloane's, where I had gone yet again, hoping against hope to find her there. I had decided, as I'd driven over to her house, my iPod off and my hands gripping the steering wheel, that if she was there, I wouldn't even need an explanation. It wouldn't be necessary for her to tell me why she'd suddenly stopped answering her phone, texts, and e-mails, or why she'd vanished, along with her parents and their car. I knew it was ridiculous to think this way, like I was negotiating with some cosmic dealer who could guarantee this for me, but that didn't stop me as I got closer and closer to Randolph Farms Lane. I didn't care what I had to promise if it meant Sloane would be there. Because if Sloane was there, everything could start making sense again. 
(Page 1, US Hardcover edition) 

If you want a light, breezy read this Fourth of July, look no further than Morgan Matson's highly-buzzed about new novel SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE.  (And you might want to break out some Kelly Clarkson music while you're at it. She's going to get stuck in your head everytime you look at this book anyway, and her music is usually drenched with that perfect blend of summer energy!) Part of the book takes place over the Fourth of July holiday, making it an ideal read this weekend. It's also great for the beach or pool, because this book will make you crave lighthearted summer days!

Emily doesn't know who she is without her bff Sloane. Sloane was always the outgoing one, the one everyone knew. Emily was Sloane's nameless friend. When Sloane disappears at the start of summer vacation, Emily doesn't know what to do. Who is she without Sloane? When she finds that Sloane left her a crazy to-do list, she decides to do everything on the list, no matter how terrifying. Maybe by doing everything, she can find out what happened to Sloane. But along the way, Emily actually discovers a lot about herself, and realizes that she has the potential to survive on her own without Sloane constantly at her side.

I really enjoyed the "mystery"of what happened to Sloane.  Maybe the answer is serious: Was she forced into the Witness Protection Program? Was the family kidnapped? But then... Why didn't anyone notice they're gone? Maybe the answer is simple.  Did Emily forget her friend was going on some tropical island far from the outside world of telecommunication? I wanted to know! I also liked the way Emily didn't let Sloane's strange disappearance destroy her summer. Sure, she wallowed at first, but she made some pretty cool new friends, too, and did things she would have never done on her own.

 That said,  I do have a lot of mixed emotions about this book.  Everyone on the planet adores it! Recommends it like crazy! I'm not a contemporary lover, and you all know that. It takes a lot for me to love a bookin the genre. I read SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE in one sitting and it IS the perfect lazy summer day read.  But Emily sometimes annoyed the crap out of me, and I have trouble loving books when I struggle to relate to the main character. I didn't like her interaction with a former boyfriend, though I get that she's socially awkward and doesn't know how to interact with people. I didn't like how she treated poor Frank after basically ignoring him. I wasn't a fan of the lack of resolution with various secondary characters at the end. The ending itself wasn't what I thought it would be. I also didn't love the inclusion of so many music playlists peppered throughout the novel and skipped past them,  but again, a lot of people love those. I'm not the type of reader who listens to music while reading. It distracts me.  *shrug*

But these are all *me* issues. Most people won't notice or care. It's not the point of the book.

The point of the book is to think outside the box, to find yourself and stand on your own two feet. It's about coming of age and making those crucial discoveries that define who you will become. It's about letting go, about being daring, about not being afraid to take chances. There are a lot of great messages in this novel and I can see why it's getting so much attention! i appreciate everything Matson did and the message she brought. It may not be the book for me, but it might very well be the next book you fall in love with this summer! 

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

I read this book before I had this system in place and don't remember enough to rate it, but I don't think it was too bad...
...Although there was skinnydipping! ^^;;;
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

It's a snapshot of a perfect summer day. Sun, fun, and ice cream! What more could two best friends want to accomplish on a hot summer day? 

In some ways,  it's misleading, because while it is a book about friendship, Morgan and Emily aren't spending their summer vacation together!  
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Received: Borrowed

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..


  1. What a crazy thing for a friend to do! It sounds like such a fun contemporary read (unlike so many of the sad drama ones that are popular lately)

  2. This one sounds amazing, I've heard such great things! Great review!
    -Scott Reads It!

  3. I've read this one and I definitely did enjoy it, but I agree with you on a lot of the things you said were "me things". I'm not a big contemporary reader either, so I guess we have similar likes and dislikes for books. It's definitely lighthearted and a perfect summer read, and Kelly Clarkson was stuck in my head! However, I did think Emily could get a little annoying as well, especially in regards to the former bf- he was a character I wanted to read more of, and she didn't treat him very well. And I felt the same about not getting to see any more of the secondary characters- their endings felt a little abrupt and without as much of a resolution. I'm pretty sure these are the things I talked about my review of it, although it hasn't even gone up yet, but I'm glad you enjoyed it as well and we had similar thoughts. A great summer recommendation because it's fun and a summery adventure!


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