Since You’ve Been Gone

Since You've Been Gone

Title: Since You’ve Been Gone

Author: Morgan Matson

Series: N/A

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: May 6th 2014


Four Stars

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?

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“I looked down at the list again, at Sloane’s careful, unmistakable handwriting, and thought about what was sometimes at the bottom of these—When you finish this list, find me and tell me all about it. I could feel my heart beating hard as I realized that this list – that doing these terrifying things – might be the way I would find her again.”

Emily and Sloane have been best friends for two years now, they do everything together and have their whole summer planned out; flea markets, drive-in movies, a job together where they can spend most of their time chatting. But one day Sloane disappears without a trace, the texts Emily sends her go unanswered and all the calls go straight to voicemail. Without her best friend Emily is left adrift, without Sloane there are no plans for the summer and Emily has no clue what to do without her best friend by her side.

Until she receives a letter from Sloane, containing a list. Every time Emily goes on holiday she receives a list from Sloane of all the things she has to do while she’s away; try haggis and fly-fishing in Scotland, and stealing the bulldog mascot in New Haven. After two weeks of nothing from Sloane the list becomes a lifeline for Emily and the message at the end ‘when you finish this list, find me and tell me all about it’ is hope.  Whenever Sloane has sent her a list before her holiday Emily has never crossed off everything, but this time she is determined to do them all, even the ones she is terrified of.

I was still a little amazed that this was happening. That this, the thing that had seemed so impossible, so terrifying, so utterly beyond me, was happening. I was having fun. And that I was the one who made it happen. “I did it,” I said out loud, sending my voice up to the stars above me, not really caring if the others heard me.

Since You’ve Been Gone is really story about Emily’s character development and the relationships she forms along the way. As she slowly crosses off item after item she starts putting herself out there more. She makes new friends in Frank, Matt and Dawn who, while not as close to her as Sloane is, are still important to her. They become her lifeline, helping her with the items on the list and cheering her on every time she crosses another one off.

…The Characters

“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”

Emily grows a lot during the course of this book. She starts off shy and withdrawn, Sloane is her only friend and Emily has always been content to tag along in her wake. Sloane is the one who is bright and open, always making friends and taking risks. Emily is the one who follows; not as adventurous but content to take part in Sloane’s wild plans. With Sloane gone Emily is alone, but as she slowly crosses off each item she starts to come out her shell, becomes her own person rather than an extension of Sloane.

When she first reads the list Sloane sent there are items Emily is terrified of doing; skinny-dipping, kissing a stranger, stealing something. As the story commences and as Emily spends more time with Frank, Matt and Dawn she starts to open up more; and as she slowly ticks off all the items on her list she grows more confident, bolder, more content in herself. She doesn’t need Sloane by her side to be brave and adventurous.

“I somehow knew that the particulars didn’t matter. She was my heart, she was half of me, and nothing, certainly not a few measly hundred miles, was ever going to change that.”

The friendship between Sloane and Emily was such a major part of this book, and even though we didn’t see Sloane much we saw flashbacks which helped cement her friendship with Emily. The two of them were not perfect but I loved that there was nothing that could come between them. We saw all the defining points of their relationship; the moment they met, the moment they became friends, and each moment which inspired an item on Sloane’s list to Emily. I loved reading the two of them together and, honestly, I think there needs to be more YA relationships like Sloane’s and Emily’s.

“I knew I had no right to feel mad about this, but even so, I had to fight back the tears that were threatening to escape—for what Frank and I had had, and for what we would never have, and for what I’d broken.”

*Spoilers for Since You’ve Been Gone below*

While I loved the relationship between Sloane and Emily I also loved the relationships she formed with Dawn and Matt even more. One of the reasons I knocked a star off this book was because I didn’t like the way things ended between Emily and Dawn and Emily and Matt. The three of them, along with Frank, seemed to form a really close friendship, but towards the end it started to crumble. Don’t get me wrong I completely understand both Dawn and Matt’s point of views. Matt was upset by Emily seemingly monopolising Frank’s time, time he would have had for his best friend, and after what happened between her boyfriend and her best friend Dawn couldn’t see past Emily kissing Frank when Frank was still with Lissa.

When this book ended Emily once again has Sloane back, and while their relationship wasn’t quite the same it was still just as strong only in a different way, and also something starting with Frank but there was no resolution to the issues that had formed between her and Dawn and Matt. I would have loved to see, if not a complete resolution, the start of something building again between them, because it wasn’t just Sloane’s list which changed Emily but Matt and Dawn cheering her own from the sidelines.

*End of spoilers*

…The Setting

“Out here, the houses got farther and farther apart until there was nothing but empty land and, tucked away on an almost-hidden drive, the Orchard. I slowed as I got closer. The entrance was always, by design I was sure, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. I was contemplating turning around and backtracking when I saw the fading sign and the narrow gravel driveway.”

There’s not much I can really say about the setting in this book; it’s literally just another town in American where Emily lives and works. Since You’ve Been Gone for me was all about Emily’s character development, even as she returns to the Orchard you can see the changes in her; the first time she was alone, hiding behind the trees to avoid running into the ex, but the second time she goes there for Frank’s birthday she is a much more open person, a definite contrast to the last time. Even at the wedding she crashes she dances out in the open, uncaring of the eyes on her. What I loved the most about this book was the way it set up Sloane and Emily’s friendship. Though we saw most of the events through Emily’s eyes we got glimpses through Sloane’s as well, mainly through the pictures she took on her camera which showed a different side to her than the slightly idealised version Emily remembered.

I’d heard a lot of good things about Morgan Matson’s books, and honestly I was really excited to pick this one up. Did it have its problems? Yes. But did I really enjoy it? Also yes. I loved the concept; the list Emily was completing and how her character grew throughout, not only because of the list Sloane left but also because of the relationships she built along the way.

What did you think of Since You’ve Been Gone? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

22 thoughts on “Since You’ve Been Gone

  1. You’re currently reviewing all the books I plan on reading in summer! Haha 😀 This one kind of reminds me of Undone by Cat Clarke, because of the concept with doing what your friend has told/written you to do. Loved your review, I’m looking forward to this one even more now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel this would be a perfect summer read. I have some more of Morgan Matson’s books on my to-read list for my summer holidays.
      Ohh, I haven’t read Undone but I’m definitely going to look it up, sounds like something I may be interested in!
      Thanks so much! I really hope you love this book when you pick it up! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m glad you liked my review, and yeah I don’t normally include spoilers unless it’s something that bugged me a little and I want to get it off my chest. I did like the ending to this book but there were just a few more things I wished had been expanded on/included.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, the cover always made me not want to pick this up – it looks too much like a hipster Tumblr edit. But now your review has made me curious. This sounds really cool. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so happy to hear you liked this book! I really love everything Morgan Matson writes, even if there are some flaws at times, they are minor and the whole story, writing and entertainment rating makes up for it, I think 🙂 Can’t wait for you to read more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was really good! And yeah even though there were a few flaws (honestly what book doesn’t have one or two flaws) I still really loved the story and all the character development! I’ll definitely be picking up more of Morgan Matson’s books; I have The Unexpected Everything on my to-read list for when it’s released.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve definitely had a strong contemporary urge since starting this blog 😀 but yes I would highly recommend picking up a Morgan Matson book when you get a chance. I have The Unexpected Everything on my to-read list for when it’s released.
      Thanks 😀 I’m glad you liked my review so much!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Yeah I was the same recently I’d started seeing this book, and Morgan Matson, everywhere. It really made me want to start her work and see what all the fuss was about 😀
      I really hope you enjoy Since You’ve Been Gone when you start it!


    1. It is a good book. I can’t really say it sounds like a John Green book because the only one of his I’ve read is The Fault in Our Stars. Since You’ve Been Gone definitely has a happier ending!
      If you read it you’ll have to let me know what you think of it! 🙂


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