Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Goodreads Description: 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?

My Review: This book is the kind of book that makes me want to gush. It's the kind of book that just makes me smile. It's the kind of book that leaves you feeling hopeful and happy. 

In a well-ordered universe, more people would write books about friendship like this book. 

This book has received a TON of hype over the past few months; you saw it featured in book haul after book haul, photographed on book blog after book blog. Due to the hype, I kept my expectations low. Counterintuitive, I know, but I hate it when I'm disappointed in a book that everyone else seems to love. It's the worst. Also, it's a YA book and the premise seemed fairly average—it's nothing we've never seen before—so I made sure not to get too excited about this book...specially because it's about friendship. 

This has actually been one of my pet peeves with YA fiction. The importance of true friendship is never emphasized. Realistic friendships are rarely written. Friends are passed over for the love interest. The characters always SAY they have a best friend but the friendships always feel kind of two-dimensional and flat. I rarely feel as if the main character truly LOVES their best friend. Either that or best friendships are dramatized in a really fake way, where the best friends sit around ONLY having deep John Green-esq conversations. So unrealistic. So when I realized this book was about best friends, I wondered if I was in for a disappointment. 

Clue: I was not!

This book was, in short, fantastic. It was nothing extremely deep or thought-provoking. But it had heart and soul. The main character was a socially awkward introverted type and she felt realistic. Not the "Oh no, I can't walk without tripping, I am so klutzy!" or "Heehee, I can hardly talk to guys, I'm so shy!" type. No, Emily actually seemed like she had actual social anxiety and introversion. Sometimes she just wanted to be away from conversations because it was too exhausting to try and figure out how to keep it going smoothly and that is exactly how it feels for an introvert. Sloane's loss was also amplified because when introverts find that one true best friend they open up to, that friend becomes everything to them. It's not easy to replace friends like that. 

The secondary characters felt developed and were fun. The romance was subtle, cute, and actually had build to it. We saw a lot of character development and growth for Emily. There was romance, there was comedy, there was drama—but I loved that Sloane was never forgotten. Emily's ache to find her friend and remember her friend flowed like an undercurrent throughout the whole book and the flashback memories helped show us how close they were and I really loved that. They seemed like actual best friends. I know because they felt like how my best friend and I behave. And if my best friend vanished the way Sloane did, I would be just as lost and lonely as Emily was. The friendship aspect was written beautifully and I'm glad that we finally have a popular book that focuses on the importance of friendship. 

All in all, a very cute, worthwhile summery read that gives you the feels and puts you in a good mood, ultimately. I'm definitely going to try some of Morgan Matson's other books! She has a way with blending sentimentality with normality and I really loved it. Perfect summer read. 

Cover: I LOVE IT. I can't stop looking at! It's so summery and fun and cute. It just puts me in a cheerful mood. Plus, the models actually look like real teenage girls! 

Grade: A+

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