Since I don’t read contemporary… (spoiler-free review)

Title – Since You’ve Been Gone

Author – Morgan Matson

Rating – 5/5

Release Date – May 5th, 2015

Publisher – Simon & Schuster

Format – Paperback

Sloane. Gone without a trace…except a list of thirteen tasks for Emily, Sloane’s best friend, to complete. Tasks that Emily would never do by herself. Emily bumps into Frank at the beginning of the summer and he ends up helping her complete the list, which she hopes will lead her to Sloane. Emily has an unexpected summer full of things that she never would have expected. New friends. New things. What will this lead to?

As you may be able to tell from the books I review, I do not read contemporary and when I do I don’t expect much. Morgan Matson is an author that really changed the way I saw contemporary, as something I can enjoy rather than something I will waste my time reading and end up giving it a low star rating.

Morgan Matson’s writing style is so easy for me to get into and the way she formats her stories with flashbacks thrown in here and there to give more background are my favourite thing. The flashbacks allow for so much depth to be added to the story and give you the background on the characters that you need to be connected to them.

Morgan Matson also creates very relatable main characters. I always find that my problem with contemporary novels is that I cannot connect with the life of the main character whatsoever because they are so out there, but Matson creates exceptional relatable teen characters. Emily, the main character in this novel, is so similar to me in that we are both awkward in social situations, don’t like change, and don’t often step out of our comfort zone. Seeing so much of myself in Matson’s main characters makes me be able to put myself in the story and be so much more engaged.

Matson creates amazing secondary characters as well. Sloane, although not present in the majority of the novel (making appearances mostly in the flashbacks) was so real to me and I felt like she so much a part of the main storyline because of how Matson wove Sloane’s character in with Emily’s. Sloane became a “main” character through the list and through Emily’s motivation to complete the list (which is what she would do if she was Sloane/what she would do if Sloane was with her). I think everyone should have a friend like Sloane because she is such a positive influence (usually) on Emily and really makes Emily live up to her full potential.

Frank Porter was an interesting male lead character because he is not the typical YA guy. He focuses a lot on his academics and is not very athletic which was really cool to see for a change in YA. I really appreciate Frank and honestly need him as a friend.

The friend group that Emily forms through chance was so cool to see because it felt so natural. It sends a really good message to the reader that stepping out of your comfort zone can be a positive thing and does not have to be scary.

I’ve been reading Matson’s books in publication order and I can truly see the development she went through as a writer. Each one gets so much more enjoyable and smoothly written. They are thought-provoking reads, yet don’t feel that way which I feel is very hard to write so I really admire Morgan Matson and am looking forward to reading more of her novels.

As a side note: I ordered Morgan Matson’s new book Save the Date and it came as a signed first edition which I screamed when I saw. I think it is so cool to get unexpected things like that and it is so cool that I have a copy like that of one of my new favourite author’s books!

Do you enjoy contemporary novels? What are some of your favourites? What are your thoughts on Morgan Matson’s novels? Let me know in a comment!


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