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.
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.