“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.”
Okay, so SYBG is my fourth Morgan Matson book and if you’re a fan of books about friendship, love and summer fun, you should read this! This is my fourth Matson book and ever since reading The Unexpected Everything (my first) and loving it sooo much, I knew I gotta read her other books. You can read my review of her other books here: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer.
Since You’ve Been Gone tells the story of Emily Hughes when she wakes up one day to find her best friend, Sloane, gone. She and Sloane have been best friends for two years so Sloane and her family just disappearing without a word worries her. Emily doesn’t know where Sloane has gone to and she’s sure that if ever Sloane will leave town, she’ll definitely tell Emily. Because that’s what best friends would do, right? But when it’s been two weeks and Sloane still hasn’t picked up her phone or replied to any of Emily’s messages, Emily doesn’t know what else to do. Until a letter, or to be exact, a list, came for her. Emily is sure it’s from Sloane by the writing alone but what she doesn’t understand is why would Sloane send her a list. But it doesn’t matter, all Emily knew is that it’s from Sloane and it’s something.
1. Kiss a stranger.
2. Go skinny-dipping.
3. Steal something.
4. Break something.
6. Ride a dern horse, ya cowpoke.
7. 55 S Ave. Ask for Mona.
8. The backless dress. And somewhere to wear it.
9. Dance until dawn.
10. Share some secrets in the dark.
11. Hug a Jamie.
12. Apple picking at night.
13. Sleep under the stars.
I can understand how Emily is feeling without Sloane to spend her summer with. Because while Emily is the awkward, shy one, Sloane is the out-going, friendly and adventurous one. Sloane makes Emily feel braver and she encourages her to do things Emily would never dare to do. They have everything planned out for the summer, how it’s going to be their best yet, so Sloane’s sudden disappearance freaks out Emily. But with the arrival of the list, Emily feels like it’s a way to find Sloane. She thinks that maybe, just maybe, if she finishes everything on the list then Sloane will miraculously just comes back.
I love the concept of the list and it actually reminded me of the times when I used to have lists of things I’ll do on summer too. It included crazy things like Jump into the pool with your clothes on and yeah, Dance until dawn which I really enjoyed! Sloane’s list is a little bolder but I was glad for Emily for she’s able to finish everything on it. Kiss a stranger is crazy but Skinny-dipping is definitely crazier. I’m also happy that the list brings new people into Emily’s life because if it used to be Emily-and-Sloane before, it’s Emily and her friends (Frank, Collins and Dawn) now.
The characters are all endearing and Frank, oh Frank! I wasn’t sure about him at first but as I read on I came to like him more and more. I mean, he’s just so nice and smart and perfect! He sees Emily when no one else does and I love how their friendship blooms into something more. Their runs together are probably my favorite part especially the mixed tapes! Then there’s Collins and Dawn, too. Collins is so adorable and I loved the friendship he has with Frank. He’s funny and he acts all cool but deep inside he knew the real him. Dawn, on the other hand, comes out at the right time in the book and I love how she and Emily instantly clicked. Next thing we knew they are hanging out and summer is fun again. It’s just sad to see how their rift is never resolved in the book. And of course, there’s also Emily’s family. I like Beckett and how cute he is! I don’t have a brother so I’m so fond of little/older brothers in books.
“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 and Frank’s romance is also adorable. It’s cute and I love it everytime Frank says the right things to Emily. They slowly work on their friendship, from being running mates to being Living Room Theater actors together which I think is really sweet. But the latter part of the book where Frank went to see Lissa and Emily thought Frank has chosen Lissa over her, I was a bit frustrated with Emily because if she thought Frank would choose Lissa after their kiss, then she’s a dumbass. I mean, didn’t she see that things between Frank and her are going right and Lissa is already history?
He looked right at me as he gave me a half smile. “You’re the brightest thing in the room”, he said. He lifted his hand from my waist, and slowly, carefully brushed a stray lock of hair from my cheek. “You shine.”
My breath caught in my throat. People said those kinds of things about Sloane-not about me.
“What?” frank asked, his eyes on mine.
“Just…” I took a shaky breath. “Nobody’s ever said something like that to me.
“Then they don’t see what I see,” he said.
So the book ends with Emily finally figuring out where Sloane is. She goes to find her and after a long drive, with Frank, she finally found her best friend. We get to see Emily and Sloane’s friendship with flashbacks and with them, we see why Emily is so attached with Sloane. They had a great friendship, not all fun but they also had some small fights and misunderstanding and sometimes Emily feeling inferior, but they were what made their friendship stronger.
Overall, I super enjoyed this book! I love the characters, the story, the romance and everything else. Highly recommended if you love a fun, summery book (with lists and mix tapes!)