Before Sloane, Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and 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.
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?
This. Book. Was. AMAZING.
I didn’t expect to like it, though! I mean, the cover’s pretty, and the premise of the story is interesting, but it’s contemporary. The contemporary genre and I do not have a good history together. We tend to disagree. Just a little bit.
But I didn’t feel that way about Since You’ve Been Gone, not one bit. I LOVED it. Here are a few of my thoughts on the book!
Emily was REALLY attached to Sloane. Like, almost unhealthily so.
It was very interesting to read about, because it was so obvious… to me. Emily couldn’t see it. Not at first, anyway. Her entire life, her entire identity, revolved around Sloane and the author’s exploration of that relationship (especially after one-half of it had disappeared) was fascinating.
It made me think. I’ve never been in any kind of relationship (with family, friends, or a girlfriend) like that, where I didn’t really know who I was outside of my relationship with that person. Where I didn’t know what to do with myself when they’re not there. Emily’s life is just so different from my own in that respect.
I loved seeing how Emily gradually developed friendships with others.
At the beginning of Since You’ve Been Gone, Emily is pretty mopey. And, honestly, why shouldn’t she be? Sloane was EVERYTHING to her and then Emily had no one.
Until she met Frank. And Collins. And Dawn. OH MY GOD I’D FORGOTTEN HOW MUCH I LOVED STORIES THAT ARE ALL/MOSTLY ABOUT FRIENDSHIP. I adored watching Emily slowly come out of her shell, adored watching her see what friendship with people-who-weren’t-Sloane was like. At first she was still so hung up on Sloane that she didn’t even realize how close she’d grown to her three new friends, but eventually that changed. Yay!
I loved the format of this novel.
It’s kind of gimmicky, I guess, but… once in a great while, that’s nice. The title of each chapter comes from one of the tasks on Sloane’s to-do list. And there are flashback sections scattered throughout. And loads of playlists created by either Emily or Frank. It was really cool.
Reading about Emily’s progress on that weird list was a BLAST.
You know how I just mentioned that each chapter’s title comes from one of the tasks? Well, those were almost never the tasks Emily meant to do then. She constantly got sidetracked, or chickened out, or whatever. It was great.
Also, I just really love lists. Here, take a look at it!
- Kiss a stranger.
- Go skinny-dipping.
- Steal something.
- Break something.
- Ride a dern horse, ya cowpoke.
- 55 S. Ave. Ask for Mona.
- The backless dress. And somewhere to wear it.
- Dance until dawn.
- Share some secrets in the dark.
- Hug a Jamie.
- Apple picking at night.
- Sleep under the stars.
This book is just so freaking SUMMERY.
I love summery books. I love any books that remind me really strongly of a season (and that I happen to read for the first time during that season), but summery books are the best. I don’t know why. I was going to say that summery books are lighthearted but now that I think about it, some of my favorite summery books – Dramarama, Holes, The Miseducation of Cameron Post – are decidedly NOT lighthearted.
So I don’t know exactly what it is that I love about summery books. But this one makes me happy, and that’s all that matters. Emily had a really great summer in the end (even without Sloane) and it was fun to read about.
So. In case you couldn’t tell from this review, I LOVED Since You’ve Been Gone. It was pure fluff, but honestly? I need more of that. I read a lot of fantasy / science fiction books that are filled with death and destruction… so once in a while, I really really appreciate a fluffy, lighthearted contemporary read.
Since You’ve Been Gone is, hands down, one of the best YA contemporaries I read this summer. Or this year. Or in a long time. You should try it!