Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 448 pages
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?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um...
Okay go ahead do it. Let's just get this out of the way right now. Start singing the Kelly Clarkson song. Done? Okay down to business. Not going to lie, every time I even think of this book title boom the song pops into my head. Thank goodness I actually really like that song, because if I didn't there would be problems. Also it's a pretty good thing that I loved this book. I really did!
Since You've Been Gone tells the story of a young girl named Emily, whose best friend Sloane just disappears one day. Emily goes to Sloane's house and finds out that Sloane and Sloane's parents have left town. Emily tries texting and calling her, but her calls go unanswered. A few days later a letter arrives for Emily from Sloane with a list of things for Emily to do. Now some of these things on this list are pretty tame, but others are definitely more difficult. And I won't say which, but I've actually done one of the shocking things on this list.
One of the things I love about contemporary books is realism. I love being able to picture scenarios of book characters in my head and realizing that this could actually happen in real life. And I got excellent visuals while reading this book. The main character Emily really affected me because I personally have been in her position. Emily has been in Sloane's shadow for years. I know exactly what it's like to be referred to as So and So's friend. And yeah it's not always so bad, but at times it can hurt when people only know you through someone else. And everyone of course has felt second best at least once in life.
No matter what book I read, romance is usually the highlight for me. In fact, I usually get bored if romance isn't introduced early enough. But with this book, it's more about Emily accepting herself and growing. And I had no problem with that at all. There is a romantic interest, and honestly I found him to be so adorable. But it wasn't until I was about 3/4 of the way through the book that I decided that they even were romantically interested in each other. I constantly said to myself, "Hey maybe these two really just want to be friends." Even though it was a bit different then what I am used to reading, it was nice to see these two become friends first, and then slowly build into something more. And as I mentioned before this book is about Emily's growth, not about her getting a date.
Now I admit that the page count sort of scared me a bit. I have a bunch of books to read this month, and I thought that I would get behind. But this book reads so quickly, and doesn't drag at all. This book such the perfect summer read. It can inspire teens to step out of their comfort level and do something fun and exciting.