Sarah Dessen may have some competition with love stories, in the form of Morgan Matson. Since You’ve Been Gone is Matson’s latest book. And while the premise reminds me a bit of Maureen Johnson’s Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes (having a list of things to do that takes you out of your comfort zone), Since You’ve Been Gone stands on its own as an enjoyable read.
Emily’s best friend, Sloane, has disappeared. Emily came back from vacation to find no one home at Sloane’s house. She doesn’t return texts or phone calls. A week goes by. Two weeks. No Sloane. Emily and Sloane were a team. They talked/texted constantly. They went everywhere together. Emily was the shy one and Sloane the outgoing one. They complemented each other. What is Emily without her?
Then one day her mother tells her she got mail. It’s a letter from Sloane, or rather a list of 13 things Emily must do. Such things as skinny dip, hug a Jamie, steal something. The first thing she tries is going to the Orchard, a former orchard which has become a hangout. Usually she’d go with Sloane. But now she’s got to go alone. There she sees Frank Porter.
Frank. The senior class president. In the running for valedictorian. Boyfriend to Lissa. When she finds she is out of gas, Frank takes her to a local gas station. In return for the favor, he asks Emily to teach him how to long-distance run, since she’s on the cross country team. Thinking it’ll never happen, she agrees.
But of course, Frank keeps turning up. While Emily’s jogging. At the drive in. At the Orchard. What’s going on? They ultimately become friends and spend a lot of time together, especially since Lissa is in Princeton for a summer program.
I’m sure you can guess the rest, but even if you can, it’s the journey, not the destination that’s fun. And…what about Sloane?
Since You’ve Been Gone is a great summer romance read.
P.S. I also liked Second Chance Summer, so give that one a try as well.