Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Posted September 12, 2015 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 6th, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 449
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Expo America

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um...

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

5 Stars

Morgan Matson is one of those SERIOUS BIG NAME YA authors that I’ve been terrified of reading but also actually really tempted by. I’m soooo glad I finally fessed up and did it. Since You’ve Been Gone is just like… perfection. What can I even say? I love this book to pieces and it made my whole heart happy.

So Since You’ve Been Gone gets all the props in the world for actually showing the “best friend’s story”. You know how in YA, often the side characters are seriously one-dimensional side characters just fulfilling a role to help the sparkly main character fulfill their destiny? Well, here we have Emily, who is Sloane’s best friend. Sloane is the one with natural charisma who everyone is charmed by, and Emily kind of lives in her shadow. But she’s okay with that because their friendship is everything. Seriously, it is an amazing friendship full of heartfelt moments and genuine love between the two. But because it’s always been “Sloane and Emily”, when Sloane disappears one summer (not in a nefarious or dark way), Emily realizes she needs to stand on her own two feet.

There were a lot of ways in which I could relate to Emily. She is nervous, shy, and awkward, and Sloane was the one who always pulled her out of that. Having to go through life without her is weird, unfamiliar, and scary. But when she gets a to-do list from Sloane, she starts having (super fun and exciting) adventures of her own and making new friends. She realizes that she can run her own life without Sloane – even though she still loves and misses her. There’s just SO MUCH character growth in this story that it’s absolutely beautiful, deep, and truly heartfelt.

And then, of course, there’s the ship. I shipped it like burning. I don’t know many love interests better than Frank Porter. Freaking Frank Porter. Can I have one of those for myself please and thank you? Aw, man, the guy is just perfect. He’s smart, highly motivated, charismatic, a natural leader, and so thoughtful. And the romance isn’t super sappy or obvious at all. He and Emily start off having a tentative friendship through which he decides to help her with Sloane’s list. Gradually, the two get to know each other, and they have so many sweet bonding moments that just made my inner fangirl into a flaily mess. Hand holding? ACCIDENTAL CUDDLING WHILE SLEEPING? One super feelsy moment after the other. Total Debby bait. I mean there is some drama that maybe could have been prevented, and I would have preferred a bit more kissing, but this ship is golden and I love it so.

The thing that maybe is a bit less than ideal in this story is the absent parent syndrome. It’s rare to encounter so much of it in one book, but seriously, Emily, Frank, and Sloane all have parents that just don’t seem to care to be near their kids at all. There’s some reasoning behind it in each family, to be clear, but it’s still a bit much. At the end of the day, though, Emily does have some realizations about how much her parents do care for her and her brother (especially compared to Sloane’s), in spite of their quirks and obsessions.

But I can just be honest and say that that didn’t bother me at all while reading Since You’ve Been Gone. I was completely sucked into the story, Emily’s voice, and that slow but beautiful romantic transition. Though this book is quite massive for a contemporary romance, it read so fluidly that I raced through the pages and was done in no time at all. It’s a great summer read, for sure for sure. One that I will revisit quite often, I can imagine.

Summing Up:

I vaguely knew that I could expect great things from Morgan Matson, but I didn’t quite expect Since You’ve Been Gone to punch me in the feels so hard. This book has top-notch friendships and top-notch romance. I fell in love with Emily’s voice – so glad that a YA side-kick finally got her own story. And the character growth was ace. Since You’ve Been Gone gave me all of the feels. Next stop: all of Matson’s other books.

GIF it to me straight!

Recommended To:

Fans of Anna and the French Kiss, The Start of Me and You, and other great, swoony summer reads.

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6 responses to “Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

  1. GAH I STILL HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK AND I AM SORRY FOR IT! I got it last year at BEA, so it is really time to sit down and take a crack at it. *sigh*

    I am so happy you liked it. It is making me want to pick it up now!

  2. Ahh, I really need to pick this one up. My step-sister is borrowing it right now and I wanna steal it back. Your review just made me want to dive into this book 10x more. I am also like you and was nervous to pick this one up due to the amazing author surrounding it.

    Can’t wait to pick this one up, now!

  3. DEBBYYYYYYYYYY I’M SO GLAD YOU FINALLY READ THIS BOOK, IT’S FLUFFTASTIC. Oh I loved it so much, it was one of my favorite reads last summer! I got the paperback recently bc it has a bonus Frank scene and I want to reread it soon. I loved the friendships, the sloooow burn romance (OMG THAT CUDDLING), and the list! I even liked how the flashbacks were mixed into the story to illustrate what Emily was going through. And I loved, like you said, that Sloane was a real character, not just a stereotype. Man this is a great, feelsy book. I loved Amy & Roger, but I loved this more 🙂

  4. in all honesty, this books makes me feel KASUDHJFASIUDHKJFS. i was actually rereading it today; funny how i came across your review! frank and emily’s relationship is seriously GOALS. like, unintended and totally adorable. can we ALL get a frank porter in our lives because ???? i’m also surprised at how much we get to see sloane’s character even though she’s technically gone throughout the book. we feeeel their epic friendship! ALL THE STARS. ALL THE THINGS. ALL THE FEELS. i love this book and i’m so glad you did as well <333

  5. Abigail

    OMG I have the paper back one bc it has
    bonus stuff and I can’t wait to read her next book!! Because this book ” since you been gone” has PULLED ME IN!!!! I GUST GOT THIS BOOK LIKE ABOUT an hours ago and I am already on chapter 2 I love this book and all I got to say is you go Morgan Matson!!!