Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

“Nothing worth doing is easy,” Frank said. “Especially not in the beginning. But I’m not about to give up.”


Title: Since You’ve Been Gone

Author: Morgan Matson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Synopsis: 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?


This book is so incredibly important. After reading The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson earlier this year I knew that I would be in for a treat with anything else of hers, but I am SO HAPPY that Since You’ve Been Gone is the book I picked up. The story that this novel told is one that I think every young person could learn and benefit from.

You would never expect to wake up one day and not know where your best friend went. You would also never expect for said friend to leave you with one heck of a bucket list full of tasks in which you would conquer your fears, explore the world outside of your comfort zone, or discover an entirely new side of yourself in the process.

However, that’s exactly the summer that Emily experiences with the help of Sloane’s list.

“And as I read the list over again, I realized these weren’t the random items that had accompanied my travels to California and Austin and Edinburgh. […] They were things I’d backed away from, usually because I was scared. It was like she was giving me the opportunity to do some things over again, and differently this time.”

Since Emily met Sloane, two years prior to the start of the story, she’s relied on her. They’ve been inseparable. And then suddenly, Sloane’s gone. Emily, a.k.a. “that girl who’s friends with Sloane”, is forced to stand on her own two feet and look to herself for answers. She’s no longer the sidekick of someone else’s story–she’s the hero of her own.

Besides the beauty of this novel’s message, it’s quirky and fun in all of the best ways. Matson delivers the tale of a bucket-list-come-true adorably (complete with my two faves: romance and plenty of ice cream)! I felt myself falling in love with Emily’s story hard and fast and each page made me want to visit the fictional town of Stanwich more.

Other highlights of SYBG include:

  • Frank (obviously). He becomes the ultimate best friend to Emily and earns some serious brownie points for all of the work he does to help Emily with that insane list! Plus, he’s adorable, slightly dorky, and has fantastic taste in music, so what more could you want?
  • Collins. Such an underrated character! Collins is the source of so much of the book’s comedy and the scenes he was in were some of my absolute favorites. Seeing him constantly trying to pick up girls was the ultimate source of entertainment (at least he tries, right?)
  • THAT. LIST. Each and every task that Sloane gave to Emily to complete made the story that much better and helped to develop Emily’s character even further with every task she crossed off. However, I’m still wondering why exactly she needed to hug a Jamie.

Normally, at this point of the review, I would add in some critique on a certain plot point, character, unnecessary something or other, but…I don’t have one for this book.

I CANNOT THINK OF ONE CRITIQUE. I’m happily making my way through the honeymoon phase of my relationship with this book. I’m one happy camper (however, I could never be as happy of a camper as Emily’s brother, Beckett)

Rating: 5/5 stars! Hooray!

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