Friday, May 9, 2014

Since You've Been Gone - Morgan Matson

Since You've Been Gone - Morgan Matson
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks Simon & Schuster!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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? Ok, 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? (from Goodreads)

You know the satisfaction that comes after having a three scoop ice cone (coffee, chocolate chocolate chip and cookies and cream with rainbow sprinkles as a special treat for me) on a hot summer day? That is precisely how I felt reading Since You've Been Gone

This book is about friendship - the familiarity of a best friend who knows you better than you know yourself, the tantalizing newness of finding friends in the most unexpected circumstances and places. This book is also about growing up, discovering who you really are, and what you like and don't like, and what you're truly capable of. There is, of course, a hint of romance, just enough to make readers like me squee. Set against the backdrop of a small town in the summertime, Matson tells an irresistible, relatable, charming story.

Matson's biggest strength, when it comes to her novels, are her characters. She writes about people readers can relate to, who readers will care about enough to root for and understand and love. She writes them real. It's hard not to want to hang out with her characters (Hiiii Amy & Roger!), or be a part of their families (Hi Taylor & family!), or date one of them (Hiiiii Henry!). And it's a wonderful thing to have the same experience with Emily, the main character in Since You've Been Gone. (And Frank Porter too, who am I kidding? He's adorable.)

It's not just that Emily and I have a lot in common when it comes to our personalities, though that definitely made me like her straight off the bat. The essential thing that made Emily so relatable was her relationship with her best friend Sloane. Their friendship was essential in getting Emily out of her shell, spurring her into new experiences that would change her life and push her into becoming braver, better, stronger. But it was also complicated, and not as picture perfect as it would seem. The way Matson deals with the reality of the growing pains that friendships go through is spot on - and happens to be the biggest reason I love this novel.

Since You've Been Gone was also simply a fun reading experience! I loved that it was all about one summer in Emily's life where, guided by a list that Sloane sends her, she does things she would never have dreamed of doing before. She takes risks, she conquers fears, she gets silly and crazy (in a safe way, obviously) and starts to slowly learn who she is as an individual (i.e. without Sloane around). There were obviously a variety of embarrassing bits, really cool moments and just plain emotional experiences. I loved the variety, I loved the way it was put together and I loved how effortlessly it flowed from one part to another.

Basically, Morgan Matson has completely hit it out of the park (again!) with her third novel. Since You've Been Gone is a lovely story that is about Emily's "summer that changed everything" - her friendships, her relationship with her family and even what she thought of herself. Combined with some really awesome playlists (yes, they're back!), and all sorts of food that I love to eat (pizza and ice cream, anyone?), I'm definitely ready to say this book is a win!

15 comments:

  1. wwweeee!! You liked it and it's about friendship?!??? I MUST READ IT NOW. By the way, I find it great that a reader can relate to the characters, so glad you were. :)

    Leslie

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    1. Yes! Being able to relate to a character is one of the BEST feelings in the world when reading a book. I'm really glad that it happened for me with Emily in Since You've Been Gone! Hope it happens for you too.

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  2. This sounds like such a fun summertime book. I'm reading it this weekend, so hopefully I like it as much as you did. :) Thanks for your review, Alexa!

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    1. I'm crossing my fingers that you wind up liking this one as much as I did! Since You've Been Gone is certainly a summertime book, what with that cover and all the mentions of fun summertime activities in it.

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  3. YES! I agree 100% this is the perfect summertime book and it's like a giant helping of all the awesome things in the world mixed together.

    AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT FRANK PORTER FOR ONE MINUTE? My new favorite for sure!

    Also? ALL THE PLAYLISTS.

    This book made me want to start running around outside, OUTSIDE where the sun is! Hahahaha.

    I love your love of Since You've Been Gone!

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    1. "It's like a giant helping of all the awesome things in the world mixed together." - Why, I would absolutely agree with this assessment! Morgan takes things I absolutely LOVE in real life and incorporates them into Since You've Been Gone and I LOVED it.

      Frank Porter is an absolute delight. I adored him so, so much, and I just feel like I need more of him - even though I just read this one.

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  4. Ooohhhhh how I want to read this one. It's been a while since I've picked up a friendship read- much too long. And the premise for this just sounds wonderful. I haven't read any of her books and I really don't know why not...

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    1. You must read Morgan's books! I've adored every single one of them, and for different reasons. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour has an amazing road trip, Second Chance Summer was the perfect combination of family, friendship + romance, and this latest one, Since You've Been Gone is all about the friendship. I hope you get the chance to read a Matson book soon!

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  5. Agreed. Morgan Matson writes some of the most authentic, relateable characters. It's so hard not to visualize them as real people. I love that! This book was amazing. So glad to hear you enjoyed it as well. Now I want that ice cream you mentioned, haha.

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    1. I seriously think that Morgan is incredibly talented when it comes to creating characters. Like you've said, they feel like real people - and people I would definitely want to meet! And seriously, this book had me hankering for ice cream after reading it.

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  6. I was so craving ice cream when I read this book! I'm so glad that you loved it. :) And you're right, Morgan writes the best characters! Exactly why I've fallen in love with her books. And the playlists! Another one of my favourite parts!

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    1. I absolutely LOVED that the playlists made a comeback in Since You've Been Gone! I'm incredibly obsessed with them, and I love that I was familiar with a lot of the songs. With amazing music AND ice cream, this book just could not and did not go wrong at all!

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  7. I have SO been wanting to read this book! This crazy book buying ban I'm on might just have to be lived so I can get this one (and a few others… don't tell anyone!) I love books that have a huge friendship aspect to them. That's actually why I loved Open Road Summer so much.

    Your review has me so excited to read it soon! Maybe I'll check and see if my library has it yet. They are so slow to get new releases. Great review!

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  8. OMG, I cannot wait for this book to land in my mailbox! It sounds amazing!

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  9. I need to read this book! I love that it focuses on friendships and there's a sweet romance. This sounds like the perfect book to usher in summer.

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