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!