A Teenager’s Review of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – Review by Shubhalakshmi
What do you do when there’s something you need to get off your chest? Something really random or something you need help figuring out. Most people would go to their parents but a vast majority would go to their best friend. Best friends are basically pseudo-family, the ones who’ll always be there for you and the ones you can tell anything and everything to. But what happens if one day you wake up to see that your best friend has disappeared? Just gone without saying a word to you, not even a single goodbye, a note or even a text? What happens if her entire family has just vanished into thin air?
That’s what the beginning of Since You’ve Been Gone is about. Meet Emily Huges, a girl whose best friend Sloane and her family disappear without a trace just a few days into their summer vacation. Emily’s tried to call her several times but it always goes to voicemail and Emily is trying her best to have some hope that she’ll come back.
And hope does arrive in the form of a letter – a list to be more precise – written in Sloane’s handwriting. It’s a list of things that Emily must do and almost all of them require Emily to break out of her comfort zone. For Emily, it’s a tough thing to do because she always let Sloane take the limelight and was happy to be known as “Sloane’s friend.” Sloane was the confident and enigmatic one whereas Emily was always more reserved and shy, but the two of them together were inseparable and if completing the list means that Emily will be able to find Sloane, she’s willing to do all the tasks.
That’s when the story really begins. It’s a story about friendship and what one would do just to find their best friend again. More than that, however, this story is one about how life can be different in a good way when you move out of your comfort zone. Slowly, Emily begins to realize that the list has become more than just finding Sloane; it’s become a list to find herself.
Along the way, she becomes more outgoing and discovers things about herself while pushing her boundaries. She becomes friends with people she never thought she’d ever speak to and together they help her complete all the tasks. She meets Frank, a guy from school she never thought she’d talk to since he happened to be the school president and an all-round overachiever. She even becomes closer to her younger brother Beckett while her parents are preoccupied with writing a play. Emily does it all right from crashing a wedding to going skinny dipping with a little help along the way.
The story isn’t written in a linear time frame because of the flashbacks that Emily has, some of them which have to do with the list.
This story is one that helps you understand the phrase “every cloud does have a silver lining.” It’s a story about one lost girl trying to find herself. I couldn’t put the book down once I’d started and I realized after reading the first few pages that it would be a book that I’d enjoy. Turns out, I was correct.
Since You’ve Been Gone is a book that captures and holds the reader’s attention till the very end. It’s not extremely fast-paced with a lot of action but it isn’t incredibly slow either. That probably added to it being one of the best Young-Adult books of 2014. The story isn’t hard to understand and it’s woven so beautifully that one can personally connect to the characters even though they have nothing in common. I know I connected with what Emily was going through at times even though I have never actually gone through the same things.
It’s become one of my favourite books and one that I’ll recommend most people to read it. After all, in a well ordered universe everyone should read this book.
When most people say impossible, they usually mean improbable and Emily does everything she thought would be impossible in the span of a few weeks. It’s something that most teenagers and young-adults find hard to do but the book shows them all that it’s not impossible at all. After all, “I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”
Shubhalakshmi is a self-proclaimed nerdy teenager who prefers books and dogs over people, loves to get lost in the pages of a book or in the lyrics of a song and also occasionally bake scrumptious treats. She writes extremely random things on her blog shubhamb1806.wordpress.com and her Twitter @shubby98.