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?
Design – Lucy Ruth Cummins Photo – Meredith Jenks
This cover is a bit strange because it seems to depict Emily and Sloane, which ties it in to the story…yet the story is mainly focused on Emily’s new friends. My favorite part of this cover is the lettering, especially how the first part of the title is striped, making it seem transparent. It’s interesting how the word ‘gone’ is the biggest and boldest, but I really like it. The author’s name is very small, which is strange. I appreciate that the angle of the words ‘a novel’ matches the angle of ‘gone.’ It really seems like the photo could be of Emily and Sloane – all the little details sell it.
Since You’ve Been Gone follows Emily’s summer without Sloane, who mysteriously disappears leaving only a list of challenging tasks for Emily. What follows is a summer of unexpected events as Emily learns how to have fun without Sloane and makes new friends. Each item on the list comes with a flashback showing how it relates to Emily and Sloane’s friendship. The list takes on a life of its own as Emily gets help completing it from Frank, Collins, and Dawn. This book is a great mix of sweet and serious.
- Beckett – Emily’s relationship with her younger brother Beckett is sweet. Although Emily sometimes wants to get him out of the way so she can figure out Sloane and the list, she also takes care of him while her parents are distracted. Beckett loves climbing and can frequently be found at the tops of doorways. Even though he’s only ten, Beckett is pretty perceptive sometimes. He likes hanging out with Emily and is upset when she spends all her time out with her friends.
- Frank – Emily’s new friendship with Frank is interesting because of how Emily thinks of him. To her, he’s always been Frank Porter, class president, possible valedictorian, and boyfriend of the smartest girl in school. Frank’s also having a summer he never expected, and Emily’s finding out that he wants to let loose and be normal. Because Frank has a girlfriend, he and Emily get to have a true friendship as they cross things off the list. He’s a geek and a truly nice guy.
- the list – Each item on the list holds special significance for Emily and Sloane, and flashbacks in each chapter explain their importance. Some of the items are things Emily never thought she’d do, especially not without Sloane there. The challenges presented by the list help Emily go from shy and stuttering to confident that she can do things that scare her without Sloane there to push her. Even though Sloane had no way of knowing when she wrote the list, each thing she came up with helps Emily connect with Frank and her other new friends.
- playwright parents – Having Emily’s parents be playwrights is fascinating and a great way to distract them. They’re very entertaining as they stock up on bulk-size food and only emerge from their story occasionally, spouting strange facts about Nikola Tesla. Their living room theater mishap provides one of my favorite interactions between Emily and Frank.
- Sloane – The explanation for Sloane’s sudden disappearance is really underwhelming. I was expecting something more, and I don’t think I’d forgive her so quickly if I were Emily. The whole ending focusing on the answer to the Sloane mystery doesn’t feel like it fits with the rest of the story.
“Dad,” I said, hearing how strangled my voice sounded.
“Have you seen my glasses?” he asked, not, apparently, thinking anything was strange about the fact that his daughter was awake at eight a.m. and standing in the doorway in her pajamas, talking to a boy he’d never met.
“They’re on your head, sir,” Frank supplied from the porch.
– Emily, her dad, Frank pg. 157
I was scanning the crowd for her when I realized I recognized someone in it – it was Frank, and he was looking right at me.
I felt my jaw fall open, and then closed it quickly. He walked across the dance floor to me, hands in the pockets of his suit, taking his time, like he was enjoying the fact that he’d just thrown me for a loop. “What are you doing here?” I asked, my voice low, once he reached me.
“I think I could ask you the same question,” he said. “I mean, you didn’t think I was going to let you do this without me, did you?”
– Emily + Frank pg. 335
Acquired: bought (ebook)