Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – friendship and lists

since you've been goneTitle: Since You’ve Been Gone

Author: Morgan Matson

Genre: YA contemporary

Length: 449 pages

Published by: Simon and Schuster

Source: received for review (thanks so much, Simon and Schuster!!)


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? Okay, 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?


So this is a book about friendship.

Immediately I liked that. I loved the flashbacks of Emily and Sloane just being best friends. There is not enough of that in YA. More best friend books, please. In my experience of high school at least, friends have been INFINITELY important than any romantic relationship, and there’s so much fodder there for writers. Anyway. I’ll get back to the book.

We also have a lot of lists.

These are things that Emily isn’t particularly keen on doing.

For example: skinny dipping.

I LOVE LIST BOOKS. They have a great structure and you always know where it’s headed. I’m writing one at the moment (well…I will be once I finish NaNoWriMo), and they’re just so much fun. Lists are great.

Emily was a character I really related to…and not just because we have the same name.

Which is weird, by the way, reading a book where the main character has the same name as you. Funnily enough, I don’t read many books with Emilys in them – despite the fact that Emily was THE most popular name when I was born. I guess it’s too common or something?

Anyway, Emily is great.

She’s a bit…shy.

But she’s not the annoying kind of shy – you know, where the author couldn’t think of any other flaws to give her, so she trips over a lot or whatever. That’s annoying. Emily is shy in the painfully awkward way, kind of like me in new situations.

Her dialogue was SO REAL it astounded me. I could hear her saying those words.

Basically, this book is about Emily learning to live without Sloane – making friends, taking risks, having fun. And I loved that. It’s not about Emily having to change, because she doesn’t have to – she’s perfect the way she is. It’s about her wanting to do something different.

There’s also a romance.

(come on, you can totally tell it’s going to be a romance)

I love how this developed. I really do. It was slow-burning and it had problems, and there was that annoying trope of the characters not COMMUNICATING with each other (I seriously hate that), but it was really lovely. And it was based on friendship, which was even better.

This was quite long for a contemporary.

450 pages and really small writing. But it didn’t feel too long, except in some very rare spaces (also I wasn’t a fan of the music playlists, because I didn’t know ANY of the music). It was a great journey: awesome side characters (especially Collins), awesome parents, awesome list. Just awesome.

And it made me want to sing.

(come on, I had to put it in here somewhere)

A wonderful book about friendship and finding out who you are outside of it. Thanks to Cait for the recommendation (she TOLD me so!).

Rating: 5/5 Wonderkitties



And tell me: what’s your favourite book about friendship?


40 thoughts on “Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – friendship and lists

  1. I waiting for that “Since you been gone” gif the entire time. XD
    I don’t remember reading YA about friendship…Although I am trying to focus on that in my WIP. Yay for friendship!
    I really want to read this book now… MUST FIND. [Even though I now have a LITERAL TBR PILE ON MY FLOOR. What is this madness?!]

  2. OH MY GOSH THIS SOUNDS LIKE AN AMAZING BOOK!! (I LOVE LIST BOOKS TOO XD) Your, right there aren’t a lot of YA books about friendship, and there should seriously be more. It’s always ❤ 'BFBB' <3(Best Friends Before Boyfriends.)

  3. OH MY GOSH THIS SOUNDS LIKE AN AMAZING BOOK!! (I LOVE LIST BOOKS TOO XD) Your, right there aren’t a lot of YA books about friendship, and there should seriously be more. It’s always ❤ 'BFBB' ❤ (Best Friends Before Boyfriends.)

  4. OH MY GOSH THIS SOUNDS LIKE AN AMAZING BOOK!! (I LOVE LIST BOOKS TOO XD ) Your, right there aren’t a lot of YA books about friendship, and there should seriously be more. It’s always ❤ 'BFBB' ❤ (Best Friends Before Boyfriends.)

  5. I LOVE that cover. Completely retro and reminds me of summers when I was that age. Emily sounds like such a relatable and lovable protagonist. I love books where the main focus is friendship, especially seeing that during your teen years it’s those friendships that get you through, not unrealistic mushy romances.
    Brilliant review Em ❤

  6. FRIENDSHIP AND LISTS?! I’M IN. Seriously, though, this book looks so great! I’ve had my eye on it for awhile now, ever since I’ve been seeing some very positive things online about it. 🙂 And even though contemp isn’t my FAVOURITE genre, I definitely plan on giving this a chance! Glad you liked it.

    P.S, Congrats on finishing NaNoWriMo again. 🙂 🙂

  7. I read this review on Cait’s blog too and was immediately intrigued! And now that you have enjoyed it as well, I’m so eager to go out and pick up a copy for myself. It doesn’t hurt that the cover is gorgeous and I just want to pet it adoringly. I love lists, I’m totally a to-do-list person and the satisfaction of crossing something off just makes me so happy. This sounds like my type of book *scurries off to find a copy*


  8. Nice to see you enjoyed this one too Emily 🙂 I really love books like this with that friendship aspect and a cute and believable romance. Fantastic review!

  9. Yes. The Pitch Perfect gif is like mandatory, right?! I LOVE THIS BOOK. Hehe. But you aaalready know that. *hides obsession for a moment* I love the lists. I love the friendship. I love Emily. (Weirdly enough, I cannot STAND when a book character has my name. I actually avoid the book completely. Which is a good thing almost no one every has my name spelt the same way…despite it being like in the top 100 names of my year too. o.O) I kind of feel like it was a little too long. Like, I loved it ALL, but…eh.
    Ohhh, you did not recognise ANY OF THE MUSIC?? Tut, tut. 😉 Although I didn’t recognise, like 70%, but there were a lot of bands on there that I do like and I felt mildly knowledgable.

    • How was I supposed to NOT put that gif in?? 😛 How weird is it that we’re never in books?? Maybe authors don’t want to choose common names, lol. Although I had an MC called Jessica once. Not sure why – just felt like it, I suppose.

      I quite liked the length. Maybe because I was NaNoing and it was just a really relaxing thing to come back to or something. LOL I’m so bad at music. I am completely clueless.

  10. Oh Emily you are making me want to read my copy now which is fantastic! I just love friendship books and the lists sound like a lot of fun. I like the awkward protagonist because she sounds incredibly relatable as well. Wonderful review lovely!

  11. 1. Immediately, the song is stuck in my head. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    2. Sounds like a wonderful book. To my “To Read” list!
    3. Is that last gif from Saturday Night Live? I am remarkably bad with faces, but she looks like Aidy Bryant.

  12. OMG COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS KILL ME. It’s my least favourite trope gahhhh. But friendship in YA is so rare that I’m tempted to give in. I’m not a strong contemporary reader but I’ve been “broadening my horizons” as of late. I’ve been very tempted to just give in to this one…

  13. Friendship is amazing! (And it must be weird reading a book with a main character who has the same name as you!)…I have an actor who shares my name, and that’s pretty weird…
    Since You’ve Been Gone sounds sweet, with great YA life lessons…like skinny dipping. I guess it’s pretty daring too. I love that Emiley develops through the book, books focusing on character development are insanely entertaining (for moi).

  14. I LOVED Cait’s review of this one! And I love yours too and I know I need to read this one super soon and so I am going to try. So hard.

  15. Fantastic review, Em! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. I love lists too, so this was extra awesome from the get go just because of this. I loved the friendship aspect too, of course.

    I enjoyed the playlists sometimes…I knew about half of the songs, but it was annoying coming across a song I didn’t know, because then I felt like I had to look it up and listen to it and then it just got in the way of my reading groove.

    I remember telling Cait about this book not long after her review of Since You’ve Been Gone (I can’t breath for the first time – seriously. Every. Single. Time.) and since you like lists, you may be interested in it too. 🙂

  16. Pingback: This Week I Finished NaNoWriMo (huzzah!) | The Loony Teen Writer

  17. Buona, on the other hand, is the least popular name when I was born. I must say I have not met anyone names Buona in my over thirty years on Earth, except for my officemate’s daughter, whom she named after me (the overtime hours must have been messing with her head). Anyway, you just totally moved this book on top of my TBR pile. I’m kinda scared because her Epic Detour was just not for me.
    Congratulations on NaNoWriMo!!! 🙂

  18. I haven’t read a friendship book in way to long and the next time I do, it must be this one! I’ve just heard so many great things about it and I’m almost certain that I’ll love it. My favourite friendship book has got to be Ari and Dante but I also loved Maybe One Day. 😀

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