Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
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? Okay, 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…(Goodreads)
Emily’s best friend, Sloane, has disappeared at the beginning of what was to be the most epic, off the charts summer of their lives. There’s no warning, no phone call, no note–Sloane is just gone. Emily tries to reach her, searches for clues as to her whereabouts, but all she finds is Sloane’s family home abandoned and no sign of her friend.
That is, until a mysterious To Do list written in Sloane’s unmistakable handwriting arrives at her door. It’s full of random tasks, the kinds of things you only do at the prompting of your best friend, the kind of things Emily would never, ever do alone. Sloane is the vibrant, fearless, life of the party. Emily has always been the loyal sidekick. But there’s a dash of hope in this list, a belief Emily holds to that if she takes the journey, if she completes each task, perhaps it will all lead her back to her best friend.
With unexpected help of Frank Porter, an undeniably cute guy from school (they’re always cute in YA aren’t they? Love it), Emily dives head first into the list and begins a summer full of changes.
First of all, I am so with Emily on this fear of doing anything too crazy. I always felt like more of an accessory than the main event. And with items like “Kiss a Stranger” (no, I didn’t want to kiss people I knew, let alone strangers), and “Steal something” (WHAT IF I GET CAUGHT?), “Break something (I mean, that’s just plain rude), or “Go skinny dipping” (Uh, let me think. No), I felt for Emily.
But with Sloane gone Emily was suddenly faced with a big, empty summer. Life feels less interesting because Sloane and Emily have one of those all-consuming tight knit friendships (except that part where Sloane forgot to mention she was about to skedaddle). Outside of her family, Emily honestly doesn’t have anyone else she’s really close to. She realizes that she’s basically alone. She only attacks that mysterious list because she feels that through it her best friend is sending her a message about how to find her. The enormous courage it takes Emily to do some of these things is what is so enchanting about this book. No, they aren’t tasks that will harm her or truly change her life in any way, but they’re different. She has to take a step outside of the comfort zone she’s been in. She begins by going to the local apple orchard where she runs into Frank Porter, schoolmate and problem solver deluxe. Frank begins to help Emily in her search for clues and the more time she spends with him the more she opens up to the possibilities around her, things she didn’t always see with Sloane standing nearby.
One element I enjoyed about this book was the flashbacks. Matson allows us to see inside Sloane and Emily’s world so much so that even though Sloane isn’t truly present in the current day storyline, as the reader I felt like I knew her (and I was as charmed by her as Emily was). Matson paints a vivid picture of what friendship is like for girls, especially high school ones. There’s a real sisterhood, a bond that runs deep and is felt clearly. And we’re left with the same question Emily had, “Why would she leave without a word?”
I also loved watching Emily grow into an individual. At the beginning, she is Emily of Sloane and Emily. She starts her trek in a cautious, single-minded way, but by the end she views herself as an individual, as someone who matters to those around her (and stands out to them) and she sees the importance she holds.
Crush Intensity: 4.5/5 I loved this book. It was so cute. Morgan Matson never misses. And also, though I didn’t put a ton of focus on him in the review, Frank Porter is adorably crushworthy. Read this book!
Where’d I Get It: Bought this one for my Nook.