Saturday 27 September 2014

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Because I have ridiculously wonderful friends and family I ended up with lots and lots of giftcards, book tokens and money 'for books' for my birthday this year, which somehow, miraculously led to several small shopping trips which was incredible. I love a big blow out as much as the next person (Hi, Leeds!) but (and especially at the moment) it's sometimes really nice to have a regular hour completely on my own to browse around a bookshop totally undisturbed, picking stuff up and putting it down again. Amassing a pile and then talking myself out of things, eventually leaving with a couple of books I'm excited about, and that's how I acquired Since You've Been Gone.

I just went looking for my review of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour but apparently I never reviewed it, which is totally insane because it was one of the first books to make me think that YA might not be all sparkly vampires etc. Anyway, there was that and I adored it and then people were talking about Since You've Been Gone and it just made me want to read it and so I did.

From the blurb:
Emily's best friend Sloane disappears, almost without a trace - the only thing left behind is a to-do list. 
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that wallflower Emily wouldn't normally do, and definitely not without her best friend. But what if completing the list could bring Sloane back?
Emily only has the summer to check everything off Sloane's list. The question is, what will she find at the end of it?
From the premise of this it seemed like I was going to enjoy it and I was right. I'm very much a fan of the concept of lists and the plot just sounded fun, and I was right. Since You've Been Gone was really enjoyable. I read it really quickly and am still trying to decide whether I should keep it or not, based on how likely to reread it I am. I'm leaning towards keeping it, which doesn't happen too often anymore!

I liked that although there was a boy involved in the story, the story wasn't about him, and it was way more about Emily discovering that she could do stuff she thought she'd never be able to do, and meet people without Sloane and actually stand on her own than it was about the love interest aspect. I also really liked that Emily's parents were playwrights - it made me think about taking up writing again, although it did just take me four attempts to spell 'playwright' so maybe not the best idea I ever had!

My favourite thing about the book was that all of the characters felt real. They all had several sides to their personalities and related differently to different people, and there was a pretty good diversity of relationships throughout the story. Although it's based on Emily and Sloane's friendship, the fact that Sloane isn't actually there allows a lot of time for Morgan Matson to talk about Emily's relationship with her parents and her brother as well as the new friends she makes in her quest to tick everything off of Sloane's list. She also did a really good job of making me believe in Sloane as a character who could just go off and leave her best friend without a word and making me understand a lot about why she would behave that way.

Morgan Matson is pretty much winning the whole YA thing for me at the moment, and you should probably read this book.

1 comment:

  1. Waaaaaant. Also, browsing bookshops is the BEEEEST. I just have a little problem because the 'putting things back' part usually means 'putting ONE thing back, having a little crisis, then giving up and buying the rest'. In Waterstones last week the man on the counter gave me two extra stamps on my card because he recognised me as 'such a good customer' (ie. 'that girl that buys a shit-ton of books at once and droops over the counter waving her debit card resignedly'). Lovely but telling, don't you think?