Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: The ultra-consistent Morgan Matson delivers with a wonderful tribute to friendship with some stunning characters and a fun plot. Massively recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: July 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471122668

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Sloane and Emily are best friends. Until Sloane disappears. She and her parents have vanished. There’s been no phone call, text, or e-mail. Then, two weeks later, Emily gets a list in the mail from Sloane, giving her tasks to do. If she does them all, can she find her way back to Sloane?

This intrigued me partly because suddenly losing contact with a friend like this out of nowhere is one of the worst things I can imagine happening. Like Emily, I find making friends difficult and the thought of someone just vanishing from my life like this makes me really worried – I think I’d struggle to cope just as much as she does in the opening chapter. Mostly, though, I wanted to read it because there are a lot of really amazing YA contemporary writers out there but Morgan Matson is perhaps the most consistent of them all. In this, her third novel, she’s given us another stunning story, full of warm, likeable, relatable characters, and a brilliant setting and a fun plot.

I think for me, Matson is even better than a lot of other US authors I love because her dialogue feels so spot on. In some cases, a lot of my favourite American authors seem to have characters who sound a bit too intelligent – they’re clever and engaging but don’t always feel that much like real teens. Matson, though, always nails the voices of all of her cast. They sound just as you’d expect them to and their interactions with each other are perfect. I love the way that we get to see Emily and Sloane together through flashbacks, but also find Emily managing to build new friendships as she tries to complete Sloane’s list. The list itself is excellent, taking Emily out of her comfort zone and giving her lots of challenging things to do, showing how well Sloane knows her.

Also, there’s an utterly wonderful ending, which, as much as I was loving the book, I wasn’t sure we’d get. The disappearance of Sloane seemed so strange that it was in the back of my mind that I might be disappointed – but Matson’s resolution fitted her characters perfectly, I definitely needn’t have worried!

Oh, one more thing – there are playlists again! As with Matson’s debut Amy and Roger's Epic Detour you should set aside a few hours to race through this, but ten times as long to catch up on all the amazing music you never knew you were missing until you read this book.

As ever from Morgan Matson, an absolutely fantastic read, highly recommended to all.

Fans of this should definitely read the first two by the same author, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. I think they'd also love The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

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