Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[Review] Since You've Been Gone - Morgan Matson

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In Morgan Matson's SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE, Emily's best friend Sloane disappears without a trace, only leaving a bucket list for her to complete behind.

What intrigued me: I assumed this was going to be a murder mystery for some reason. I love bucket list books in general.

Not what I expected

I was terribly mislead by the back text. 

I thought this was going to be either a sad story about someone who loses their best friend. I thought Sloane had been murdered. Given the fact that Emily has no one besides her, Matson didn’t make her affected enough by that. Sloane could’ve been dead for all Emily knew. And instead of even telling someone, she just hangs on to her list, thinking that she left her a master plan, that’ll lead her to her. 

I think narrating this novel in first person destroyed the story. Matson isn’t really able to make the main character Emily interesting enough to root for her. Also there are way too many flashbacks to force the reader to like Sloane. Had they cut these from the final draft, the novel would be probably only take up 200 pages. While the writing was okay, but not really making me want to continue the novel (about 440 pages!), the formatting is just horrible. There are several mix tapes spread throughout the novel that take up an insane amount of space. I don't really get the point, nobody is actually going to look up the songs and listen to them. For the medium, this is defienitely redundant. If this were an audio book, it would have been a different matter.

Plot devices and a rude protagonist

The main character Emily is not really explored, she just keeps making bad decisions that are obviously, even for a seventeen-year-old, questionable. There is no possible way to connect emotionally to someone like her that is extremely ignorant and unable to even think about what other people feel like. Gideon for example, her ex-boyfriend/hookup, who got her name tattooed on his arm where everybody can see it. She doesn’t even waste one second, or even one line of thoughts on him after she learned that he was in love with her. He’s just a plot device for the “break something” part of the list.

Same goes for all other characters, none of them matter to Emily, besides the guy she wants to land. There is just way too much coincidence and with a main character that keeps leaving trail of hurt people behind herself while thinking she’s the victim? No. I’m sad that Matson made the choice to narrate this from Emily’s point of view, because she’s not a nice person, yet glorified in the novel. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

The writing may be alright, but the characters are so off and horrible role models for a young adult novel. It just made me shake my head repeatedly how ignorant and self-absorbed Emily is, while justifying this attitude by being a shy girl. Come on. Not a recommendation, especially not for younger readers.

Additional Info

Published: May 6th 2014
Pages: 449
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA / Romance
ISBN: 9781442435001

"It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um... 

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?"(Source: Goodreads)


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