When I finally picked up Since You’ve Been Gone, I have to admit that I was a little nervous. This book has gotten such amazing reviews, yet contemporary YA is so far outside of my comfort zone that I was convinced that it would in no way live up to its hype for me. But after having read and loved Everything Leads to You this summer, and now this one, I’m starting to think that it’s possible my tastes are changing. Or maybe I’ve just been reading really good examples of this genre. Either way, I’m ecstatic and can’t wait to read more from this genre.
While I didn’t love Since You’ve Been Gone as much as I did Everything Leads to You, it still totally blew my expectations out of the water. I had an idea in my head of what I thought this book was going to be like…but it was completely different! It was cute, it was funny, it was romantic, it was adorable, it was bittersweet, it was real.
My favorite part of this novel was the two main characters, Emily and Frank. They just fit together so well and have such strong chemistry as friends. Frank is exactly the kind of guy friend that I would’ve loved to have back in high school. And Emily is exactly the kind of best friend I would’ve wanted, too. I really related to her character throughout the novel and enjoyed watching her break out of her shell. The “coming into one’s own” trope is one of my favorites, and Matson does a very good job of it in Since You’ve Been Gone.
I also really enjoyed the general plot of this novel. The idea that Emily needs to complete a list of objectives given to her by Sloane before the end of the summer…it was cute. A lot of the things on the list were things that even I’ve never done or would be afraid to do, so I gave Emily a lot of props for being brave and doing things that she never in a million years would’ve done otherwise.
There were a couple things that I didn’t like about this book, though. Throughout the book, Emily also becomes friends with two other people besides Frank — Dawn and Collins. I grew really attached to those characters throughout the novel and wished that their stories had been wrapped up a bit more. They both had relatively important issues that were left unresolved at the end of the book. I wish I knew what happened with them!
I also didn’t like that the author used the “misunderstanding” trope in this novel. At the end, Frank and Emily are having a conversation that basically turns into a fight, all because there’s a simple misunderstanding that could’ve easily been rectified immediately had Frank done or said something. But he doesn’t! And it made me want to strangle him. I hate it when characters do that, as it’s something that I don’t really see happening that often in real life (and I particularly didn’t understand his reasoning for it in this circumstance, besides for Matson to use it to create tension between the characters and therefore more drama and action for the story).
Overall, though, this story was wonderful! I had so much fun reading it, and even though it was 450 pages, it flew by and I read it in almost one sitting. I loved each and every one of the characters, and adored the fitting ending to it all. After Since You’ve Been Gone, I can’t wait to finally try out Matson’s other books, as I’m not confident that I’ll love those as well!